Activists board the Clemenceau for the second time in a month as a millitary helicopter buzzes overhead. The activists are protesting France dumping the toxic ship in India.
French authorities seem determined to see unprotected workers
scrap theaircraft carrier, Clemenceau and allow poor workers to
sortthe toxic waste by hand.
We are just as determined to stop them.
Two activists have boarded the ship during its transit through
theMediterranean towards India. One of them, Sebastian, spent
24 hours on the mast of the Clemenceau one month agotrying to
prevent it leaving France. Last time he had only one apple toeat
and a banner to sleep in but he's back again, prepared to prevent
Francegetting away with dumping the ship.
Victory! Update 15 Feb: French President Chirac has announced a dramatic recall of theasbestos-laden warship Clemenceau == it will be turning around andgoing back to France. Our actions, emails to Chirac and an embarrassinginternational scandal left France with little choice but to abandon themisguided attempt to dump its own toxic mess on India.
Hovering above Sebastianis a French military helicopter. Navy
personnel have boarded theship, no doubt to ensure it makes it to
an Indian shipbreakingyard so a poor worker can hand sort France's
This is not the first time France has tried to dump the toxic
asbestoscarrier on someone else, nor the first time its been
boarded to send itback to France. In 2003 France tried to send it
for scrapping inBangladesh, via Greece. But the Greek military
boarded the ship in theMediterranean and forced it to return to
View the history of the ship nobody wants.
France wants to send the ship to be scrapped on the beaches of
India. Check out where France thinks its OK to send its toxic
India doesn't want it either
Since our action in France last month, the story has been
making headlines in India.Our activists at the French embassy
in Delhi were immediatelyarrested in a failed attempt to silence
the growing protests in India.On January 7, the Indian Supreme
Court issued an interim rulingordering the ship to stay out of
Indian waters due to the hundreds oftonnes of asbestos onboard. But
despite this, the Clemenceau is stillheading straight for
Under an international law, calledthe Basel convention, France
is not allowed to dump toxic waste in adeveloping country like
India. But France is exploiting a loophole thatallows the ship not
to be called 'waste' until it arrives.
Take thewaste out of the ship and put it in barrels back on the
ship - that'sillegal hazardous waste transport, leave it in the
structure of theship and you have a excuse to let the ship poison
and kill people indeveloping countries.
It's a garbage argument. It's bad enough that theshipping
industry uses it to justify sending toxic garbage to India, but
for a country like France to use it isindefensible.
What is the solution?
The Clemenceau may be one of the largest ships to be sent for
scrap butevery year a vast decrepit armada bearing a dangerous
cargo of toxicsubstances, asbestos, PCBs and heavy metals, ends up
in ship breakingyards in Bangladesh, India, China and Pakistan,
where they are cut upin the crudest of fashions, taking a huge toll
on human health and thelocal environment.
Asian ship breaking yards are perfect forthe shipping industry.
They can make a quick profit by dumping oldships that are too
expensive to scrap in developed countries due to thehazardous
materials in them. Such problems evaporate when environmentalrule
enforcement is lax and workers rights practically non-existent.
Adream come true for unscrupulous shipping industry but a nightmare
forthe environment and workers safety.
We are campaigning to end
this nightmare. The solution
is simple. Developed countries should decontaminate old ships
before they are sent for scrapping.
Help us continue to expose environmental crimes around the world. We don't accept donations from governments or corporations: we can name and shame without fear of economic retaliation. But we can only do that with your help.