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Home / India News / 2007 / May 2007 / May 15, 2007
Supreme Court to hear Blue Lady ship-breaking case
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Supreme Court to hear Blue Lady ship-breaking case

The Supreme Court will hear the case pertaining to the docking and ship-breaking of the Norwegian ship Blue Lady today.

New Delhi, May 15 : The Supreme Court will hear the case pertaining to the docking and ship-breaking of the Norwegian ship "Blue Lady" today.

The apex court said that it had received a report relating to hazardous wastes caused by ship-breaking from Dr. Prodipto Ghosh, the Chairman of the Technical Experts Committee (TEC) on Management of Hazardous Wastes relating to Ship-breaking and Secretary, Ministry of Environment.

Unmindful of the protest by 30, 000 villagers of Gujarat's Bhavnagar District and environmental and human rights groups, it is reliably learnt that the TEC has recommended the dismantling of the ship in its report, contrary to a October 14, 2003 direction of the court.

The hearing was fixed for April 30, 2007 but it was postponed.

Earlier at a meeting of the Directorate-General of Shipping held on ship recycling regulations, the president of the Ship Breakers Association had raised the issue of ships under tow and why they must go for prior decontamination of the ship in the country of the export because it is already under tow.

The Ministry of Environment was taken aback and sought to know from him as to why he did not raise this issue until now.

In November, 2006 Sanjay Mehta of Priya Blue Industries Private Ltd based inside the Sosiya Ship-breaking yard, Bhavnagar, filed an application in the court seeking permission for the dismantling of the "Blue Lady" in the aftermath of the anchoring permission granted to Rajeev Reniwal of the Hariyana Ship Demolitions Pvt Ltd on humanitarian grounds in June 2006.

The ship in question is in illegal traffic. There is documentary proof that such ships are required to get a clearance from the Ministry of Defence, which has not been done in this case. Certification for the prior decontamination of the ship in the country of export is also required.

Villagers in Bhavnagar argue that the dismantling of the ship will have a hazardous impact on the 12 villages located near the Alang Ship-breaking yard, as the ship contains a large amount of asbestos.

Taking recourse to Rule 12 (i) of the Hazardous Wastes (Management and Handling) Rules under the Environment Protection Act, 1986 that bans the import of asbestos, Gohil, the head of the Sosiya Village Council opined that exposure to asbestos could result in a loss of livelihood because of the contamination of the aquatic life in the sea.


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