The Suez Canal harbour authorities have confirmed with Greenpeace that permission for passage through the channel has still not been granted to the French aircraft carrier – the Clemenceau.
Greenpeace activists board the carrier ship Clemenceau 50 nautical miles off the coast of Egypt hanging a banner that reads 'Asbestos carrier stay out of India' .Greenpeace is protesting against the decommission of the Clemenceau, which has been sent to India for decommissioning despite widespread outrage at the high levels of asbestos and other hazardous materials it contains.
The 27,000 tonne end-of-life warship, being towed to India by a small tugboat and escorted by a French Navy frigate, is currently holding position at the approach to the Suez Canal, awaiting the Egyptian authorities’ final decision. Two Greenpeace activists have now left the Clemenceau, but the environmental organisation will keep track of the Clemenceau over the weekend.
Yesterday, the Egyptian authorities demanded to see the appropriate documentation for the ship, from both the French and the Indian authorities, to prove it is not in violation of the Basel Convention, the international treaty preventing the trade in hazardous materials. If Egypt does not receive all the required documentation, the convoy will be considered illegal, and ordered to return to a French port.
“Due to the high levels of asbestos on board, it is clear that the Clemenceau is an illegal export of hazardous waste to India. This floating toxic behemoth is a shameful symbol of how developed countries are so willing and apparently able to dump their rubbish into the back gardens of developing countries,” said Jacob Hartmann, Greenpeace Nordic Toxics Campaigner in the Mediterranean. “The Clemenceau must not be allowed to go any further. The Egyptian authorities must stand firm and refuse the ship entry and demand its return to France.”
The Indian Supreme Court has also barred the ship from its own territorial waters until French authorities produce documents proving the ship is not breaking international law. The Indian Supreme Court will meet on Monday 16 January to further discuss the issue.
Other contacts: Ramapati Kumar, Greenpeace India Toxics Campaigner, +91 98 455 35 414Vinuta Gopal, Greenpeace Toxics Campaigner +91 9845535418Martin Besieux in Egypt, Greenpeace international toxics campaigner +32 496161585Mhairi Dunlop, Greenpeace International Communications, +44 7801 212 960Vivek Sharma, Greenpeace India Communications, +91 934 378 8424