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Beluga Fascination waste row: 'Halt and reconsider' says ITF

The ITF commented today on the possible shipment of a cargo of hexachlorobenzine from Australia to Denmark and fears by organisations - including the Danish dockers who would have to unload it - about the ship to be used and the wisdom of sending such a shipment by sea at all.

ITF Maritime Coordinator Steve Cotton said: "Our response is 'stop and rethink'. No one wants substances such as HCB around when they can be safely disposed of, but there are questions that need to be answered here, and answered quickly: can the transport workers involved - truckers, dockers and seafarers in both countries and at sea - be assured that they are not in danger; does this potentially risky voyage need to take place at all; and is the Beluga Fascination the right ship? The last of those is the easiest to deal with and the answer is no."

"HCB is ranked as one of the most hazardous compounds there is, to human health and to ecosystems, including the marine environment. If the disposal facilities are in place in Australia then common sense dictates that it would be safer to use them - a point that's likely to be accepted by the Australian and Danish publc alike."

He continued: "We understand that the environmental agencies in Denmark and Australia have looked at this case and we respect their competence, but in the light of these questions, this vessel's inspection record and the growing opposition to this risky operation we believe the answer has to be to halt the operation while all the possibilities are re-examined."

He concluded: "The ship was due to be loaded this Saturday. Before that happens all parties should also consider what will happen if that takes place and then no country wants to accept the cargo."


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