Friday, June 09, 2006

'Blue Lady' Blues

The Supreme Court on 5th June gave permission for the Malaysian ship 'Blue Lady' (SS Norway) to anchor at Alang, Gujarat. An article regarding this is here.
The Blue Lady's owner admits that the ship contains asbestos. But the ship carries neither documents required as per international law, nor a complete inventory of its hazardous wastes.
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Arguing before the court in favour of allowing the ship into Alang, the Technical Committee cited two reasons. One, that monsoons were approaching and if the ship were not allowed to be anchored, then the ship might get damaged in the high seas. Two, that there were 13 Indians on board -- all crew members -- and they would suffer from paucity of food and water, if the ship was not allowed in.
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In the meantime, following adverse publicity about low occupational safety standards at Alang, GMB has imposed a ban on media persons visting the area.
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The media appear to have failed to take note of the fact that the apex court has allowed anchoring of the ship on humanitarian grounds and not on legal grounds. As noted earlier, in a similar episode in 2005, the Danish ship, Riky, was allowed into Alang and dismantled despite repeated diplomatic recall requests from Denmark. The apex court is hearing the Riky case and is yet to decide on the issue.

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