WTI waste incinerator, East Liverpool.
Turkish Minister of Environment, Fevzi Aytekin, has today
notified all relevant authorities that Turkey must not allow the
French toxic ship for scrap "Sea Beirut" to enter the country. He
has also said the vessel should return to France.
The vessel was illegally exported from France to Turkey to be
scrapped at Aliaga, one of Turkey's notorious ship breaking yards,
with dangerous toxic waste on board.
Greenpeace had been tracking the vessel because it was concerned
France may be attempting to illegally dump toxic waste in Turkey,
exposing its people and environment to some of the most dangerous
substances known to science.
Greenpeace activists intercepted the vessel as it neared Turkish
shores last Saturday, and warned the Turkish authorities that it
contained toxic waste. Greenpeace was critical of the Turkish
Ministry of Environment for failing to control the vessels
regularly entering Turkey for scrap with toxic waste on board,
despite a national ban. Following the Greenpeace action, the
Turkish Ministry of Environment responded by taking samples of some
of the hazardous materials found on the ship. This morning it
confirmed that the vessel is carrying asbestos, as Greenpeace had
suspected, and should return to France.
"The French authorities should have stopped this illegal trade
before the vessel left French shores. Now they must ensure the
vessel and all its hazardous cargo is safely returned to France and
hold those responsible for this illegal attempt to dump toxic waste
in Turkey criminally accountable," said Greenpeace campaigner Erdem
Greenpeace discovered that the owner of the 'Sea Beirut'
abandoned the vessel in France after refusing to pay the necessary
40,000 Euros required to clean it of asbestos. The vessel was then
sold to a Turkish shipbreaker, Cemsan, by the Dunkirk port
authorities in France without notifying the Turkish authorities of
the toxic materials on board.
Up to a hundred ships are scrapped in Turkey every year. At
least 50 percent of them come from Western European shipping
companies. The costs for dismantling toxic ships in Turkey are
lower than in Europe because not even basic requirements for the
protection of people and the environment are met at ship breaking
yards such as Aliaga where ship breaking practices are comparable
to those in China, India and Bangladesh. Greenpeace is not against
scrapping of vessels but wants to ensure that their export is not
used as an excuse to dump toxic waste.
"This case shows that the Turkish Ministry of Environment has
been ignoring all the toxic waste that's illegally entering Turkey
through the shipbreaking yards in Aliaga. It also clearly
demonstrates the need for the shipping industry to be held
responsible for cleaning vessels of hazardous substances before
they are exported," added Vardar.
Greenpeace is demanding that toxic ships for scrap are
recognised as a form of hazardous waste trade by all world
governments and that international regulations with a strong
liability regime are enforced. As a first step, ship owners must be
required to conduct an inventory of all hazardous substances on
board their ships for scrap and clean them before they are