Don't Scrap This Ship in India Environmentalists Plead
Toxics Watch Alliance warns imminent arrival of end-of-life German ship 'Northern Vitality' breaches Indian Supreme Court Order.
Excerpts from a letter from ToxicsWatch Alliance (TWA) Convenor, Gopal Krishna, New Delhi, to the Director of India's Central Bureau of Investigation follow:
"This is to inform you that in violation of the Supreme Court order dated July 30, 2012, Northern Vitality, a 15-year-old ship owned by German company “Norddeutsche Vermögen Holding GmbH & Co” and chartered by Swiss company MSC is headed for the shipbreaking beach of Alang, Bhavnagar, Gujarat. I am copying this message to Mr Michael Steiner, German Ambassador to India besides other concerned authorities.
I have learnt that in the ongoing saga of Alang's existence as a graveyard of ships and migrant workers last month four workers died in Alang beach. These workers are from Bihar, UP, Jharkhand, Odisha who are treated as second rate citizens in Gujarat no social protection.
I submit that Indian authorities must be alerted to step in to halt the illegal export of the German ship in question. This step by the German ship owners appears to be in tandem [sic] with the proposed amendment in the European Waste Shipment Regulation to legitimize admittedly illegal trade.
... I submit that there are hazardous materials, such as asbestos and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), used in the ship's construction. Workers condition on the Alang beach is one of the worst. They are under extremely dangerous and polluting conditions where workers labor on tidal sands to cut ships up by hand, exposing themselves to the risks of toxic chemicals, fires, explosions and falling steel plates. Pollutants are allowed to flow unimpeded into the marine environment."