Greenpeace finds toxic asbestos on ship for scrap

ship owners must be held accountable for contaminated ships

Press release - 8 October, 2002

Greenpeace activists stamp a 'toxic waste' warning sign, on the stern of the Greek owned ship ‘Silver Ray’ in Antwerp harbour today. The ship is shortly bound for scraping in Asia.

Greenpeace activists stamped a warning sign on the stern of the Greek owned ship for scrap 'Silver Ray' in Antwerp harbour today, confirming that the vessel is toxic waste. The move followed results of samples taken from the ship by the environmental organisation last week that confirmed the vessel contains asbestos and other hazardous materials.

On hearing that the 'Silver Ray' contains hazardous materials, the Flemish Minister for the Environment, Vera Dua, declared she will do everything possible to make sure

the vessel is not exported for scrap without being cleaned first.

"If this vessel is sent to Asia without being cleaned, workers and the environment around the shipbreaking yards will be exposed to the toxic asbestos on board," said Greenpeace campaigner Marietta Harjono. "The owners of the 'Silver Ray' must safely remove the asbestos and other dangerous materials before exporting her to Asia for scrap," she added.

Greenpeace is calling on delegates attending the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) meeting in London this week to ensure the IMO takes responsibility for the severe pollution caused by the shipping industry when it exports contaminated ships for scrap to Asia.

"Decisions taken this week could go a long way towards protecting the health of people and the environment around Asian shipbreaking yards," said Harjono, speaking from the IMO meeting. "The case of the 'Silver Ray' makes it clear that mandatory guidelines for cleaning vessels before they're exported for scrap are vital. Until they're enforced worldwide, and the industry is held accountable for the pollution it's causing, ship owners will continue to dodge responsibility for cleaning their vessels and continue to leave others to suffer from exposure to toxic pollution," she concluded

VVPR info: More information see: Images are available from the Greenpeace International photodesk on + 31 20 524 9580