From: Reuters
Published May 9, 2006 12:00 AM

New 'Toxic Ship' Headed for India, Greenpeace Says

NEW DELHI — A former cruise liner with hundreds of tonnes of asbestos and other toxic material on board is heading for an Indian scrapyard, Greenpeace said on Tuesday, threatening a repeat of a controversy over a French warship.

In February, the French government decided to recall the Clemenceau, a mothballed aircraft carrier containing tonnes of asbestos, after the environmental group said that scrapping it in India would pose a risk to the health of workers.

A court order blocked the ship from entering Indian waters, while Greenpeace activists staged several protests.

The group said New Delhi had not learnt a "single lesson" from the Clemenceau saga. The 46,000-tonne Blue Lady, formerly the S.S. Norway, was on its way to the Alang yard in the western Indian state of Gujarat from Malaysia, it said.

"The Indian government is washing its hands of the ship and following a business-as-usual policy in Alang," Greenpeace campaigner Ramapati Kumar said in a statement.

In a report in December, Greenpeace said that thousands of workers involved in the ship-breaking industry in countries such as India, China and Pakistan had probably died over the past two decades in accidents or exposure to toxic waste.

The 315-metre (1,035-foot) Blue Lady contains more than 900 tonnes of asbestos and heavy metals, the group said.

Environment ministry officials said they would not immediately comment.

The Blue Lady, which entered service in 1962, was owned by Malaysia's Star Cruises Ltd. A boiler room explosion in May 2003 killed seven crew.

Source: Reuters

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