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.
At 07:20hrs this morning, two activists boarded the carrier
50nautical miles from the coast of Egypt in international waters.
Theyare currently on one of the ship's masts with banners
declaring:"asbestos carrier: stay out of India".
The Indian Supreme Court Monitoring Committee has
alreadyacknowledged that the arrival of the Clemenceau in India
would be aviolation of the Basel Convention, the international
treaty preventingthe trade in hazardous materials.
Greenpeace is now calling on Egypt to refuse permission for
theClemenceau to enter the Suez Canal and progress further towards
itsfinal destination of Alang, India.
The Clemenceau has been thesubject of intense international
debate, as the French Governmentrefuses to reconsider its decision
to send the military aircraftcarrier to India without prior
decontamination. The ship had alreadybeen refused entry into
Greece, when military personnel had to boardthe ship in the
Mediterranean to return it to France.
Greenpeace activists demonstrated against the ship's
departurefrom France, with non-violent protests in simultaneously
in France andIndia.
"The Clemenceau presents an immediate danger to the
Indianenvironment and to the workers at the Alang ship-breaking
yard," saidJacob Hartmann, Greenpeace campaigner on board the
vessel that haltedthe Clemenceau's progress today. "There is more
than sufficientevidence to establish that the French Government has
failed todecontaminate the ship, even to the standards they agreed
to, let aloneto international standards. We simply cannot allow the
ship to get anycloser to its destination. India has spoken, and
they do not want thisship!"
In India, the Supreme Court Monitoring Committee proclaimed on
7January that importing the Clemenceau to India would be considered
aserious violation of the Basel Convention (1), after hearing
thetestimony of asbestos removal experts from officials from
Technopure:the company originally contracted by the French
Government todecontaminate the ship, who stated that at least 500
tonnes of asbestosstill remain onboard. (2)
Yesterday, in France, Greenpeace and the Ban Asbestos
Networkstarted court proceedings to remove the confidentiality
clause from thecontract on asbestos removal from the Clemenceau, so
that detailsregarding toxic substances onboard may be revealed. The
Court isexpected to rule today.
"France has repeatedly tried to evade its
responsibilityregarding the Clemenceau," said Jim Puckett of the
Basel ActionNetwork. "Their standards for handling asbestos are
amongst the highestin the world. But instead of investing in safe
removal and disposal ofthe asbestos on the Clemenceau, they are
trying to dupe the IndianGovernment, and dump their toxic wastes
onto the poorest of the poor ofthe world. This is absolutely
reprehensible; certainly not the kind ofattitude one would expect
of a supposedly civilised nation!"
Greenpeace is demanding that:
1. The French Government agrees to take back the Clemenceau and
decontaminate it thoroughly before allowing it to leave Europe
2.The Indian Government refuses to allow the Clemenceau
permission toarrive in India as long as the ship is not thoroughly
3.The Egyptian Government upholds its commitment to the Basel
Convention,and refuses permission for the Clemenceau to transit
through Egypt orto enter the Suez Canal and head further towards
India until the Baselobligations are fulfilled (3)
Greenpeace is an independent campaigning organisation that
usesnon-violent creative confrontation to expose global
environmentalproblems to force solutions that are essential to a
green and peacefulfuture.
Other contacts: Jacob Hartmann, Greenpeace Nordic, (mobile) +4528109020Jim Puckett, Basel Action Network, +1 206 652 5555Martin Besieux in Egypt, Greenpeace International Toxics Campaigner + 32 96161585Ramapati Kumar, Greenpeace India Toxics Campaigner, +91 98 455 35 414Mhairi Dunlop, Greenpeace International Communications, +44 7801 212 960Vivek Sharma, Greenpeace India Communications, +91 934 378 8424
VVPR info: Photos available from Franca Michienzi, Photo Desk +31 653 819 255Video available from Michael Nagasaka, Video Desk +31 646 166 309
Notes: 1. This means that at least 80% of the asbestos amount is still onboard. France claims that 115 tonnes of asbestos has been removed. Technopure claims that at least 500 tonnes is still onboard. This means that at least 615 tonnes of asbestos were onboard the Clemenceau originally.2. As per decision VII/26 taken at the COP7 meeting of the Basel Convention, end-of-life ships are considered 'waste' and it is irrelevant that the Clemenceau is a 'war ship.3. Egypt has already officially said that it would uphold the Basel convention for ships heading for breaking yards going through the canal. Amongst other things, Egypt has stated that prior notification procedures should be implemented when such ships transit through the Suez Canal. Failing compliance with those requirements, Egypt - as a party to the convention - shall consider such a crossing an illegal one in line with the Basel convention provisions.
Exp. contact date: 2006-01-20 00:00:00