'Blue Lady' is still facing legal tangles


Note: Gujarat state elections results have been declared. The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has come back in power in the state. In order to defeat BJP, among other efforts, Indian National Congress (INC) party had stressed that the ship-breaking industry, which declined during the BJP rule, would be revived if it is voted to power in its manifesto. It is noteworthy that the ship breakers had threatened to vote for Congress if Blue Lady (SS Norway, SS France) was not allowed dismantling permission. Bhavnagar, wherein Alang ship-breaking yard is situated falls under one of the two assembly constituencies of Bhavnagar North and Bhavnagar South. Alang Ship Recycling Yard is located 50 km southeast of Bhavnagar. Shaktisinh H. Gohil, the Congress candidate from Bhavnagar South, defeated the BJP candidate Jitubhai Vaghani.

The Times of India reported on 17 December, 2007 that there are already 35 ships awaiting cutting permission from the government and 20 are on their way.

On November 30, 2007, Hrydesh Joshi of NDTV reported from Alang "Gujarat yard workers never vote". Given below is his report.
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Alang in Gujarat is the world's largest ship breaking yard. It's a mini-city with its population of workers varying between 15 to 60 thousand.

But the place presents an irony as Gujarat goes to polls in December. The entire work force in the yard has never voted.

It is out of bounds for the media and for activists.
The government doesn't want the story of the workers to go out.

"I have never voted, I don't even have an election card, no one cares. Who will make an effort to go and get a photograph clicked to make a card when he is not informed. We don't even know when these cards are made," said Suresh, Alang Worker.

Labourers come from Uttar Pradesh, Orissa and Bihar for a better life. But there is not even basic medical facility in Alang.


The workers deal with hazardous chemicals every day. Recently the Supreme Court intervened and stopped the French ship Clemanceu to be dismantled here saying it was too dangerous.

Breaking dreams

Kora came to Alang almost 60 years ago. He is still struggling for basic needs - food and shelter.

For him, the right to vote is a distant dream. "I have never voted. Our names have not been registered. How will we vote. We will be arrested if we go to cast our votes," he said.

"No leader or party is bothered about us, the yard has been there for years but we still don't have even concrete houses," said Bhagwat Singh, Village Head.

Even government officials admit the living conditions in the shipbreaking industry is dismal.

"Even when there are accidents in the area, there are no orthopedics to look after the patients. And if there is a very serious case, then we take the patient to Bhavnagar. There is no emergency facility in this area," said Dr S B Joshi, Block Health Officer.

However, politicians insist all is well.

"We are making a housing complex for the labourers. Even medical facility is there in that area. You can go and check it if you want. If there is an accident there, an ambulance will reach in 10 minutes," said Pushotam Solanki, BJP MLA.

The shipbreakers of Alang are not part of any votebank so no political party cares if they swim or sink.

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The Blue Lady pictures dated 29 November, 2007 below shows that international news agencies have misreported that it is being dismantled.

















The fact that the ship is still to answer many galring questions. Sources have revealed that Star Cruises Ltd, the original owner of the ship are exploring ways to recall the ship. Some buyers are also making efforts to buy the ship and turn it into a hotel.














Is it impossible for a consignment of hazardous/toxic/biological/radioactive material to be transported by enemy outfits and countries to India? Environment & Commerce Ministry is out to ensure that it is made quite possible. The proposed of the Draft on Hazardous Materials (Management, Handling and Transboundary Movement) Rules, 2007 and Directorate General of Foreign Trade are attempting to do the same at the behest of US Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries and Indian scarp steel industry.


'Blue Lady' is still facing legal tangles even after the apex court pronounced its verdict. Indian Platform on Ship-breaking, a green body consisting Greenpeace, Ban Asbestos Network of India (BANI) and Basel Action Network (BAN), has moved the court once again with a petition.

MUMBAI: Alang in Gujarat is swinging back to life. Once world’s largest ship demolition centre, now a marginal player, Alang is slowly breathing life into itself, thanks to over two dozen junk ships that were beached recently for breaking, after an unusually long break.

A ship-breaker from Alang said Gujarat Maritime Board (GMB) is only providing beaching permissions, and that none have received breaking clearance. “At least 25 ships have come to Alang for demolition.

However, there is confusion about their dismantling, after the supreme court came up with strict guidelines in October. Both GMB and Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB) are yet to begin strict implementation of the guidelines,” said another ship-breaker.

The apex court had asked GMB to set up a model ship-breaking yard for others to emulate and follow strictly. However, the board is yet to construct the yard. Indian breakers are buying ships at a new record, $500 per light displacement tonnage (LDT). A breaker said their counterparts in Bangladesh were buying large tankers at $575 per LDT and above.

“But they seemed to have burnt their fingers in such high-value transactions. Apparently, they seem to have slowed down their purchases during last one month. The recent cyclone is also believed to have impacted their businesses,” said an official.

Post the court order, GPCB had recently finalized norms for scrutinising the ships coming demolition as per the fresh guidelines issued by the court in October, 2007. The `desk review’ of the ships is now mandatory before anchoring, and it is to be completed aboard the ship by a team comprising of officials from the GPCB and the customs department.



While ships beach at Alang, so are the controversies. After `Blue Lady’, it is the turn of `Aqaba Express’, anchored at Alang, to raise environmental and health concerns. Last month, the UN’s Basel Secretariat wrote to Indian government warning hazardous materials on board the ship.

It claimed that the vessel was arrested in Spain for operating under a certificate that declared it was on a final voyage for demolition in India or Bangladesh. Initial tests proved that the vessel carried hazardous substances such as asbestos and PCB.

The Spanish government had allowed the ship to sail off from Almeria in August for Constanza in Romania, where it was to undergo repairs. But it changed course and sailed to Alang. The 1975-built ship, formerly called 'Beni Ansar', was registered in Moroni in Comoros. The Basel Secretariat has asked Indian government to ensure that the standards of the Basel Convention are met.

'Blue Lady' is still facing legal tangles
even after the apex court pronounced its verdict. Indian Platform on Ship-breaking, a green body consisting Greenpeace, Ban Asbestos Network of India (BANI) and Basel Action Network (BAN), has moved the court once again with a petition.

While India has gone ahead with its own rules for safe ship-breaking, International Maritime Organisation (IMO) is close to finalizing a set of guidelines. Top officials from IMO, European Union and Basel are visiting Alang and Mumbai in the first week of January, before the working group of Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) is slated to meet in Paris by January-end, to finalise the IMO’s guidelines.

26 Nov, 2007, The Economics Times

Spain concerned over toxic-laden ship in Alang
New Delhi, Nov 17: A few days after UN officials alerted India about the presence of a toxic-laden ship Mv Ai Arabia at a Gujarat port, Spain too expressed similar apprehension, saying that the vessel has reached there "illegally".

In a letter written to the department of shipping, the Spanish Ministry of Public Works and Economy said the ship had been officially dispatched in august from the port of Almeria (Spain) to Constanza (Romania) where it was to undergo repairing.

However, the ship has reached the port of Alang awaiting breaking since October, the letter, written this month, said.

The Spanish ministry further pointed out the ship was subjected to a detailed inspection in the Maritime District of Almeria prior to receiving permission to sail.

"The objective was to check the navigability and safety conditions of the ship and to prevent possible contamination," the letter said.

However, subsequent monitoring of the ship detected its course had changed, said the letter adding that "it appears that during the journey the ship has twice changed the name, firstly to the 'Aquaba Express' and most recently to 'Ai Arabia'.

The Spanish ministry has also offered to provide information about the vessel, which it said may be required "in view of the potential problems which may arise from the irregular conduct of the ship."

Last month, Katharina Kummer Piery, an official from UN's Basal Secretariat wrote to the environment ministry that the vessel (Mv Ai Arabia) had left Spanish territorial waters after informing the authorities that it was going to Romania for refurbishment and instead it came to Gujarat coasts.



Another ship docks in Alang, another toxic, asbestos alert


Close on the heels of the Blue Lady controversy, another ship has landed in Alang to be dismantled. This time, the UN’s Basel Secretariat has written to the Indian Government warning that the ship, Aqaba Express, containing asbestos and other hazardous material may be on its way to shipbreaking yards. The ship anchored in Alang on October 27.

The letter from the UN says that the vessel was arrested in Spain for operating under a certificate that indicated it was on a final voyage for demolition in either Alang or Chittagong. “The results of the lab tests showed that the vessel contains hazardous substances such as asbestos and PCB. However, the ship was subsequently allowed to leave upon issuance of new documentation that showed it was en route to Romania for refurbishment,” says the letter.

When the letter was written on October 2, the ship had crossed the Suez Canal and was in the Indian Ocean. Built in 1975, it was earlier called Beni Ansar. It’s registered in Moroni in Comoros, off the coast of Africa. The Basel Secretariat has asked the government to ensure that the standards of the Basel Convention are met. According to this, the ship must receive “Prior Informed Consent” as a notification indicating that it does not contain hazardous substances. This requires sampling and testing of onboard materials. This ship has none of these. The owner of the yard where the ship has beached was unable for comment.

In the last two years, this is the third large vessel to land. First was Le Clemenceau, recalled by France, then came Blue Lady. The Supreme Court passed an order on Sept 6 laying strict guidelines for dismantling of ships in Alang.

November 06, 2007
Indian Express

Comments

Anonymous said…
Ship-breaking industry on verge of collapse

KARACHI, Nov 17: Ship-breaking industry is on the verge of total collapse owing to large-scale import of re-rollable material under the garb of ferrous (re-meltable) scrap which does not have duty and sales tax at import stage.

The Pakistan Ship-Breakers� Association (PSBA) has taken up the issue with the chairman, Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), Abdullah Yusuf, and pointed out that it was not only causing huge revenue loss, but also damaging the ship-breaking industry.The ship-breakers alleged that large-scale import of re-rollable material was being cleared by the Model Customs Collectorate (MCC) under the Customs Administrative Reforms (CARe), thereby causing severe damage to ship-breaking industry which provides jobs to a large number of skilled and unskilled workers.

PSBA chairman Azam Malik said due to rampant import of re-rollable scrap under the garb of re-meltable material which does not have 15 per cent sales tax at import stage, it has become impossible for the industry to import ships for scrapping which are presently being quoted at $490 to $520 per ton in the world market.

The government in the budget 2007-08 increased the assessable value for import of re-rollable scrap from $290 per ton to $400 per ton, but the customs authorities did not feed these tariffs in their computer system which caused millions of rupees loss to the national exchequer.

Undoubtedly, he said after the introduction of CARe, there is fast clearance of goods at the customs stage which saves importers from extra cost and long delays.

However, PSBA chief said under this automotive system of clearance a very large number of container loads of re-rollable scrap is making its way into the domestic market.

He also said a huge quantity of misdeclared scrap, such as used ship chain, shafting, pipes, moon shape pipes, channels etc., are available in the local market.

Similarly, he said a large number of trucks loaded with moon shaped pipes (PHARA) are available in the market who are making their way from Taftan and Quetta through RCD highway after being cleared under the garb of re-meltable scrap.


By Parvaiz Ishfaq Rana

November 18, 2007
Sunday
SOURCE: DAWN Group of Newspapers, 2007
Anonymous said…
12/07: Toxic inaction: Why poisonous, unregulated chemicals end up in our blood -by Mark Schapiro
PUBLISHED October 2007

In the late 1990s, citizens of several European countries learned from newspaper reports that their infants were constantly being exposed to a host of toxic chemicals. Babies were sleeping in pajamas treated with cancer-causing flame retardants; they were sucking on bottles laced with plastic additives believed to alter hormones; their diapers were glued together with nerve-damaging toxins normally used to kill algae on the hulls of ships. When European health
officials tried to look into the matter, they were confounded by how little they actually knew about these and other potentially hazardous chemicals. Regulators discovered that they had no way of assessing the dangers of long-term exposure to everyday products. Some manufacturers of baby goods did not even know what was in their own products, since chemical producers were under no obligation to tell them. Such data, if it existed at all, was secreted away in the vaults of chemical companies and had never been submitted to any government authority.

In the years since those news reports, the nascent science of bio-monitoring has provided further insight into how the industrial chemicals that are in clothes, food packaging, cosmetics, toys, electronics, and just about every modern convenience are actually lodging in the human body. Greenpeace U.K. released a study in 2005 that found numerous toxic chemicals in the umbilical-cord blood of European infants. That same year, World Wildlife Fund International tested the blood of three generations of women from twelve European countries. The largest number of chemicals—sixty-three—was found in the group of grandmothers. Given the number of years they had had to accumulate exposure, this result was perhaps not surprising. But the next-highest level was among their grandchildren, aged twelve to twenty-eight, who in their short lifetimes had amassed fifty-nine different toxic chemicals. The blood of a nineteen-year-old Italian, who
later sent me her test results, included brominated flame retardants, which are potential liver, thyroid, and neurological toxins that are used to coat many electronics; the pesticides DDT and lindane, the latter of which is suspected of contributing to breast and other cancers; perfluorinated chemicals, known carcinogens that are used as stain- and water-repellents on clothing, furniture, and nonstick cookware; and artificial musk aromas, found in soaps and perfumes, that scientists claim can reduce the body’s ability to expel other toxins.

Bio-monitoring tests in the United States have revealed the same dangerous chemicals making their way into the blood of Americans. In 2005, the Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention completed screening for the presence of 148 toxic chemicals in the blood of a broad cross section of Americans; it found that the vast majority of subjects harbored almost all the toxins. In the same year, the CDC’s National Survey on Family Growth concluded that rates of infertility were rising for women under the age of twenty-five, a spike many scientists attribute, at least in part, to routine exposure to toxic chemicals. The Environmental Working Group conducted tests on the umbilical cords of ten newborns in 2006 and discovered that cancer-causing, endocrine-disrupting, and gene-mutating chemicals had passed from the mothers to their fetuses through the placenta.

Up until the 1970s, no country had imposed any meaningful oversight of the tens of thousands of chemicals that had entered the marketplace since World War II. Then, in 1976, the U.S. Congress passed the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), which granted the government the authority to track industrial chemicals and to place restrictions on any that proved harmful to humans or the environment. Because the United States was the world’s preeminent economic power, other major chemical producers—Germany, France, and Britain—soon brought their national regulations into line with TSCA so as not to lose the U.S. market.
Shortly thereafter, Japan and other countries hoping to conduct trade with the West also had to adopt the central principles of the law as their own. Thus, America set the rules for chemical regulation across the globe.

But TSCA came with an enormous loophole, a caveat leveraged into it by the powerful chemical industry: every chemical already on the market before 1979 was exempted from the law’s primary screening requirements. Three decades after TSCA came into being, 95 percent of all chemicals in circulation have never undergone any testing for toxicity or their impact on the environment. The extent to which TSCA has failed to regulate hazardous substances is now evident in the bio-monitoring results in Europe and America.

Europeans have recently decided to do something about all the untested chemicals that are ending up in their blood. “The assumption among Americans is, ‘If it’s on the market, it’s okay,’” explained Robert Donkers, an E.U. official who was asked to review Europe’s regulatory laws after the baby-product scare. “That fantasy is gone in Europe.” Donkers’s efforts were the first steps in what became, seven years later, a new E.U. chemical regulation called REACH—Registration, Evaluation and Authorisation of Chemicals. REACH amounts to a revolution in how chemicals are managed, and in how production decisions
around the world will be made from now on. Regulations set by the most powerful countries have quickly become, through trade, the international standard. And the European Union, with a market of 480 million people stretching across twenty- seven countries, is now significantly larger than the United States in both population and wealth; Europe’s gross national product surged past that of the United States in 2005, and the gap increased when two more countries joined the E.U. earlier this year. The E.U. is now the most significant trading partner for every continent except Australia. The ripple effects from this shift in economic power have been one of the great untold stories of the new century.

Indeed, Europe is now compelling other nations’ manufacturers to conform to regulations that are far more protective of people’s health than those in the United States. Europe has emerged not only as the world’s leading economic power but also as one of its moral leaders. Those roles were once filled by the United States.

* * *

When TSCA took effect in the late 1970s, the United States was seen as a pioneer of health and environmental regulation. The Environmental Protection Agency had been established only a few years before, and the government had recently set standards for fuel economy, hazardous-waste disposal, and many other factors affecting the country’s air and water quality. Currently, some 42 billion pounds of chemicals are produced in or brought to America each day, but because of TSCA exemptions, fewer than 200 of all the chemicals on the market have ever undergone any serious risk assessments. Among the 62,000 chemicals the act excused from testing or review were thousands of highly toxic substances, such as ethyl benzene, a widely used industrial solvent suspected of being a potent neurotoxin; whole families of synthetic plastics that are potential carcinogens and endocrine disrupters; and numerous other chemicals for which there was little or no information.

The EPA is actually allowed to place restrictions on the chemicals grandfathered onto the market if the substances present an “unreasonable risk to human
health.” In order to demonstrate this risk, however, the agency must surmount tremendous legal and administrative obstacles. The EPA is required to weigh
the “costs to industry” of any regulation, and it is obliged to impose restrictions that are the “least burdensome” to chemical manufacturers. According to a 2005 Government Accountability Office analysis, the EPA relies too heavily on industry test data when making safety assessments and allows companies to keep critical data from the public through “indiscriminate” claims that information is proprietary. Even for those few new chemicals brought to market after TSCA, the screening record is not reassuring. Ninety days before commercial-scale production of a chemical begins, manufacturers are required to
provide the EPA with all exposure and toxicity data. Theoretically, this information enables the agency to determine whether regulatory action is warranted before chemicals hit the market. But according to the EPA’s own figures, 85 percent of the notifications submitted contain no health data.

One result of this industry-friendly screening is that the EPA has banned only five chemicals since its inception in 1970. For a brief time the banned list included a sixth substance: asbestos. In 1989, the EPA prohibited nearly all uses of asbestos, which it classified as a “known carcinogen.” The chemical industry challenged the agency, however, and in 1990 a federal court vacated the ban, asserting that the EPA had neither met TSCA’s requirement that the conclusive dangers of the chemical should exceed its perceived usefulness nor demonstrated that the ban was the “least burdensome alternative” for eliminating the “unreasonable risk” of exposure. The EPA has not acted to ban a chemical since that decision, even though other countries have outlawed asbestos and numerous toxins that are still in use in the United States. (Since 2004, the E.U. has banned entire categories of hazardous chemicals from use in cosmetics, toys, electronics, and other consumer goods.) By making it easier to hang on to old chemicals than to develop new ones, TSCA provides no incentive for manufacturers to create less toxic alternatives. The absence of even minimal toxicity data insulates the industry from the normal supply-

demand dynamic of the market; consumers, in other words, have no means of expressing their potential preference for a less toxic substitute.

Chemical companies have spent lavishly to preserve these lax standards. Since 1996, the industry has contributed $47 million to federal election campaigns, and it pays about $30 million each year to lobbyists in Washington. Lynn Goldman, who served as assistant administrator for toxic substances at the EPA
from 1993 to 1998, told me that she and her colleagues knew TSCA was largely ineffectual. “There were thousands of chemicals out there, and we didn’t know what they were. We weren’t able to get the data, weren’t able to assess the risks, nothing.” Goldman recalls a party held in Washington to commemorate TSCA’s twentieth anniversary. “Someone from the chemical industry got up to salute TSCA and said, ‘This is the perfect statute. I wish every law could be like TSCA.’”

* * *

The primary target of Europe’s new chemical regulation is the more than 60,000 compounds TSCA allowed to stay on the market without testing. Under REACH, these chemicals will have to be registered, evaluated for toxicity, and authorized before being permitted to remain in use. Fifteen hundred chemicals are expected to be placed on a 2008 list of “substances of very high concern.” These toxins, which are known to cause cancer, alter genes, and affect fertility, will be the first to be removed from the market unless producers are able to prove that they can be “adequately controlled.” In addition to assessing chemicals
in their raw form, REACH also extends to the endless array of consumer goods that utilize these compounds; thus, tens of thousands of “downstream users,” from construction companies to tennis-shoe manufacturers and fashion houses, will be forced to find out and report what chemicals are in their products and what effects they have
on human health and the environment.

By the end of 2008, the first sets of risk data are to be submitted to the E.U. Manufacturers will then have ten more years to complete what amounts to a scientific cataloguing of the chemical makeup of the global economy. Whereas U.S. regulators are forced to find scientifically improbable definitive evidence of toxic exposure before acting, REACH acts on the basis of precaution. European authorities consider the inherent toxicity of a substance and, based on an accumulation of evidence, determine whether its potential to cause harm is great enough to remove it from circulation. Unlike TSCA, REACH places
the burden of proof on manufacturers, who must demonstrate that their chemicals can be used safely. The law also proposes to drastically limit the amount of health-related data that companies can claim as proprietary.

Critics of stricter chemical regulations have long contended that the price of compliance would be far too steep. But the E.U. estimated that REACH would cost European chemical manufacturers about $4 billion over fourteen years—a figure that amounts to less than 1 percent of their combined yearly revenue. The E.U. further calculated that these expenses would be repaid many times over by the resulting health benefits. According to their figures, REACH would prevent some 4,500 occupational cancer cases each year and reduce European health-care costs from ailments related to chemical exposure by $69 billion
over the next three decades. Moreover, by establishing what will be the first open, actually free market in chemicals, in which informed consumers will be able to make decisions as to what risks they are willing to take, REACH promotes new research into the development of safer chemicals. Chemists have already come up with substitutes for some of the most problematic toxic chemicals on the market, and the E.U. estimates that its environmental initiatives have spawned billions of dollars in “green” industries and technologies.

U.S. companies could be put at a serious competitive disadvantage if they do not acknowledge the changes taking place across the Atlantic. Americans are already losing ground to Europeans in the chemical business, having slipped in the past decade from a trade surplus with European manufacturers to a more than $28 billion deficit. That deficit promises to increase as environmentally aware consumers are given the opportunity to choose between European goods with chemicals that have undergone toxicity screening and American goods with unscreened chemicals. Because American companies interested in exporting
to the E.U. will also have to supply toxicity data to the European authorities, REACH does present opportunities for U.S. consumers. Not only will these chemicals be subject to their first-ever health- and environmental-impact review but the findings will then be available on the European Chemical Agency’s website. At that point, U.S. consumers may no longer choose to use untested American goods.

* * *

The American public, along with the American media, has so far been mostly oblivious to the new chemical regulations coming out of Europe. The Bush Administration and U.S. manufacturers, however, have been fixated on it for years. REACH is far more than just another foreign ban of a specific chemical with which U.S. industry will have to contend; it strikes at the fundamental belief that the United States decides what can and cannot be contained in the goods sold all over the world. So as REACH was being debated in the European Parliament from 2003 to 2006, the U.S. government and the nation’s industries teamed up to undertake an unprecedented international lobbying effort to kill or radically weaken the proposal.

The assault came from an assortment of government and industry offices. A memo that circulated at the State Department’s Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs denounced REACH as too “costly, burdensome, and complex” for industry to follow. If chemicals were put through the rigors of review, a Commerce Department brief warned, “hundreds of thousands of Americans could be thrown out of their jobs.” U.S. Trade Representative Robert Zoellick submitted a
protest to the World Trade Organization asserting that REACH amounted to a “non-tariff” barrier to foreign exporters. A delegation of State Department officials joined two Dow Chemical executives in Athens to lobby the Greeks, who then held the presidency of the European Union. Colin Powell himself sent out a seven-page cable to U.S. embassies throughout the world claiming that REACH “could present obstacles to trade” and cost American chemical producers tens of billions of dollars in lost exports. At the same time, Washington sent emissaries to such new E.U. members as Hungary, Poland, Estonia, and the Czech Republic—formerly Communist countries where environmental consciousness was far less developed than in Western Europe—in an effort to peel off support
within the E.U. by claiming that REACH would hurt European firms competing in foreign markets. The State Department also recruited a coalition of allies to oppose REACH from countries heavily reliant on exports; pleas went out to Brazil, India, Japan, Malaysia, South
Africa, and others to develop a “coordinated outreach” strategy among “E.U. trading partners.” In E.U. parliamentary hearings on REACH that I attended, I was able to identify lobbyists not only for the U.S. and European chemical industries but also for such downstream chemical users as cement, automobile, textile, and pharmaceutical companies. The U.S. lobbying effort amounted to an historic intrusion into European affairs. Robert Donkers, who in 2003 was stationed in the United States to explain REACH to Americans, invited me to consider the reverse scenario: European officials descending on Washington to lobby against a bill being considered in Congress. “It wouldn’t be tolerated,” he said. “We wouldn’t last ten minutes!”

By early 2006, REACH had already undergone a rewrite by the European Commission and had passed its first reading in the parliament. Nearly a thousand amendments had been voted on and consolidated. Environmentalists in Europe felt the standards had already been weakened in significant ways. Priority had been put on “high-volume chemicals” produced in excess of a thousand tons a year, with diminishing data requirements as the volume declined; broad exemptions were issued for certain plastics. But REACH still retained its core principles: that thousands of existing chemicals would be reviewed for their toxicity, that the data from those reviews would be made public, and that responsibility for demonstrating a chemical’s safety would rest with the manufacturers.

In Washington, however, President Bush signaled that the struggle was far from over. He sent C. Boyden Gray to Brussels in February as the new U.S. ambassador to the E.U. A veteran Republican operative and an heir to the R. J. Reynolds tobacco fortune, Gray had spent a career in and out of government rewriting the rules of environmental oversight to reduce the burden on business. As general counsel to the first President Bush, he helped transform how the EPA and other federal agencies were managed so that cost-benefit analyses would be given precedence over risk-based decisions. “This is the beast we have confined
and tamed,” he told me, referring to his success in limiting U.S. regulatory laws.

One of Gray’s first public undertakings as ambassador began at AmCham E.U., an affiliate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Brussels. AmCham E.U. lobbies the E.U. on behalf of 140 U.S. companies, including Apple, Boeing, Dow, DuPont, General Motors, and McDonald’s. Environmental policies are one of their top concerns. In June 2006, Gray orchestrated a joint press release, from the United States and twelve other countries, that objected to REACH’s hazard-based system for assessing risks and called for weakening its registration requirements. That press release, it turns out, was written at the offices of AmCham E.U. and sent from the U.S. Mission in Brussels. One morning that June, I received a leaked copy of the original draft, which, thanks to Microsoft tracking software, included the editorial changes that were written into the document as it made its way through various readers. Where AmCham E.U.’s address had
once been now ran the imprimatur of the United States Mission to the European Union. This edit and others offered a rare glimpse into the routine merging of the U.S. government with American corporations. When U.S. Representative Henry Waxman conducted an investigation into the Bush Administration’s efforts to undermine REACH, he unearthed dozens of pages of diplomatic cable traffic showing how the government had coordinated its efforts with those of industry. Talking points, lobbying junkets, statistics (many of them proven inaccurate) had been shared. Instead of considering these reforms on their merits, or
revising its own failed regulations, our government demonstrated once again that it puts business interests ahead of the safety of its own—and the world’s—citizens.


* * *

The European Parliament finally voted to approve REACH on December 13, 2006. By February, the U.S. Department of Commerce, which had lobbied so vigorously against the proposed regulation, was hosting a seminar in Charlotte, North Carolina, to explain to companies doing business in Europe how to comply with the law intended to protect Europeans. It was the first of a series of sessions to be held with American businesses across the country. In the same month,
representatives from the Pentagon, defense contractors, U.S. scientists, and California state officials met in Monterey to discuss the effects REACH would have on military hardware being used on U.S. bases in Europe. Several major American electronics and cosmetics companies are already reformulating their products to meet the new E.U. standards. And DuPont, Dow, and other large U.S. chemical manufacturers are busy preparing toxicity data to submit to the E.U. In many instances, smaller American chemical companies and most downstream manufacturers that utilize chemicals will have to purchase this data from the big corporations, which now stand to profit from the REACH strictures.

Many American states, tired of waiting for direction from Washington, are now looking to Brussels for ideas on environmental reform. California, Massachusetts, and New York have begun exploring the possibility of implementing elements of REACH in their state regulations; Maine and Washington have cited Europe’s precedent in their efforts to ban particular chemicals, such as those poly-brominated flame retardants found in children’s sleepwear. Elsewhere in the world, governments have worked to bring their own policies into line with REACH. The Chinese Ministry of Commerce had REACH translated into Mandarin within
days of its passage. European consultants also traveled to China to show industry and government officials there what exporters will have to do to abide by the chemical regulations. The Europeans were willing to aid their competitors in China, with whom they have a significant trade deficit, because just about anything made in Chinese factories can end up in the hands of Europeans. To protect its population, Europe is working backward, toward the potential sources of future chemical contamination. European consultants also fanned out to Brazil, Mexico, South Africa, South Korea, Thailand, and other major players in the world economy. And in the upcoming year, Robert Donkers, who had long tried to forewarn American businesses of this tectonic shift in environmental influence, is expected to be transferred to India, where he will be advising that up-and-coming economic powerhouse.

The European Union is demanding that its industries take responsibility for the collateral health damages that its products may cause, and it is doing so with innovations that are leading the world. In the process, American consumers are being put in a position that would have been unimaginable as little as a decade ago. Shortly after the EPA was founded, the United States imposed domestic restrictions on some of the most dangerous pesticides and other chemicals, and U.S. companies responded by exporting millions of pounds of these toxins to Third World countries, where such regulations didn’t exist. The irony is that our nation’s steady retreat from environmental leadership means it may soon become a dumping ground for chemicals deemed too hazardous
by more progressive countries. Meanwhile, Americans may also be the incidental beneficiaries of protective standards created by the government of a foreign country in which they have no say. In recent years the United States has opposed a multitude of environmental and human-rights initiatives that have gained international legitimacy without its participation. Indeed, this country is no longer where it likes to imagine itself to be—at the axis of influence around which the rest of the world revolves.

* * *

Mark Schapiro is the editorial director of the Center for Investigative Reporting - http://centerforinvestigativereporting.org/ - . His new book, Exposed: The Toxic Chemistry of Everyday Products and What’s at Stake for American Power, was published this year by Chelsea Green.
Anonymous said…
atlantic109
Experienced Cruiser

Posted December 06, 2007 07:31 AM Hide Post
Actually I'm finding it hard for those happier memories to remain intact. It's hard to equate what you see now with sitting on deck with a nice cool drink on a the last true ocean liner.

Whichever way you look at it NCL do seem to have got away with an awful lot. The insufficient maintenance lead to the explosion( let's not forget the dead and injured). Their former flag ship has ended up undecontaminated on a beach in India, which may or may not result in further deaths.

Posts: 174 | Registered: February 12, 2006 Reply With QuoteEdit or Delete MessageReport This Post
Ignored post by atlantic109 posted December 06, 2007 07:31 AM Show Post
Heron Bay
Experienced Cruiser

Posted December 06, 2007 08:05 AM Hide Post
It's ironic to see the most recent photos, given that hanging on the wall above my computer is a print of a Stephen Card painting. It shows SS FRANCE outbound off lower Manhattan on a beautiful day, with a Hudson River passenger steamer and an American Export-Isbrandtsen freighter saluting the glorious French liner.

Seeing that once-proud ship lying forlorn and wounded on the beach reminds me of the famous Oliver Wendell Holmes poem "Old Ironsides" in which the author recalled the glory days of the USS CONSTITUTION, and expressed the sentiment that she would be better honored meeting her fate in a storm at sea than subjected to the indignity of the breakers' yard.

The poem, of course, was instrumental in the frigate's preservation.

Posts: 255 | Location: Upstate NY | Registered: December 29, 2005 Reply With QuoteEdit or Delete MessageReport This Post
Ignored post by Heron Bay posted December 06, 2007 08:05 AM Show Post
Keath
Serious Cruiser

Posted December 06, 2007 08:05 AM Hide Post
Sorry for the confusion about the holes near the mud. It looked like there was a ramp leading up to the holes I mentioned...but that is actually the stablizer.

Guess I wouldn't put anything past these guys at this point....

Posts: 73 | Location: Long Island, New York | Registered: December 30, 2005 Reply With QuoteEdit or Delete MessageReport This Post
Ignored post by Keath posted December 06, 2007 08:05 AM Show Post
Changoleon
Cruiser

Posted December 06, 2007 05:08 PM Hide Post
By now our beloved ship is very ill. It looks to me like a bull when it has been stacked with the sword. it is bleeding waiting for death, but with dignity.
It's sad, regards from Dieguetxe.
One doubt how they will pull to the beach 75,000 tons? as i see the alang photos there is nothing as a huge machine to do it...who knows.

Best of all guys!

Posts: 6 | Location: Waco, Texas | Registered: October 11, 2007 Reply With QuoteEdit or Delete MessageReport This Post
Ignored post by Changoleon posted December 06, 2007 05:08 PM Show Post
Ron Clark
Master Cruiser
Picture of Ron Clark

Posted December 06, 2007 06:44 PM Hide Post

quote:
Originally posted by Changoleon:
By now our beloved ship is very ill. It looks to me like a bull when it has been stacked with the sword. it is bleeding waiting for death, but with dignity.
It's sad, regards from Dieguetxe.
One doubt how they will pull to the beach 75,000 tons? as i see the alang photos there is nothing as a huge machine to do it...who knows.

Best of all guys!



Actually, the SS Norway does not weigh 75,000 tons. It's weight is far less, approximately 46,000 dead weight tons, including all the equipment aboard. Not all of that would be steel.

Posts: 774 | Registered: July 06, 2005 Reply With QuoteEdit or Delete MessageReport This Post
Ignored post by Ron Clark posted December 06, 2007 06:44 PM Show Post
Svein
Experienced Cruiser
Picture of Svein

Posted December 06, 2007 11:24 PM Hide Post

quote:
Originally posted by Ron Clark:

quote:
Originally posted by Changoleon:
By now our beloved ship is very ill. It looks to me like a bull when it has been stacked with the sword. it is bleeding waiting for death, but with dignity.
It's sad, regards from Dieguetxe.
One doubt how they will pull to the beach 75,000 tons? as i see the alang photos there is nothing as a huge machine to do it...who knows.

Best of all guys!

Actually, the SS Norway does not weigh 75,000 tons. It's weight is far less, approximately 46,000 dead weight tons, including all the equipment aboard. Not all of that would be steel.

Actually, it's far less than that as well. The MDWT of the Norway was 13960 tons. When they pull her further up the beach it will be less than that as well because then she will be close to light ship condition.

Posts: 313 | Registered: August 19, 2006 Reply With QuoteEdit or Delete MessageReport This Post
Ignored post by Svein posted December 06, 2007 11:24 PM Show Post
andrea doria
Serious Cruiser

Posted December 07, 2007 03:33 AM Hide Post
Well it looks like it's finally all coming to a head. The wanted destruction of not only a piece of history that can never and will never be replaced, but also the more than certain death of countless of workers who will be pulling her apart. Mr Mentha will go down as being one of the most arrogant people in India, the Indian judical system, an absolute joke and star cruises a bunch of asians who don't know how to run a cruise company profitably.If only she han't ended up in such a stupid and corrupt country like in india.
It realy is a shame!!!

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Ignored post by andrea doria posted December 07, 2007 03:33 AM Show Post
Heron Bay
Experienced Cruiser

Posted December 07, 2007 06:16 AM Hide Post

quote:
Originally posted by Svein:
Actually, it's far less than that as well. The MDWT of the Norway was 13960 tons. When they pull her further up the beach it will be less than that as well because then she will be close to light ship condition.


As Svein says, the deadweight tonnage (DWT) is now mostly absent.

But her displacement tonnage(the weight of water displaced by the floating hull, therefore her actual weight) was about 57,600 when she was FRANCE, and would of course be greater now given the upper deck additions she received as NORWAY.

So the vessel's actual weight is the factor with which the winches are coping as the breakers seek to drag her further onto the beach.

The 76,000-ton figure often quoted is her approximate gross tonnage, which is a measure of her interior spaces (100 cu ft=1 gross ton) and not of her weight.

Posts: 255 | Location: Upstate NY | Registered: December 29, 2005 Reply With QuoteEdit or Delete MessageReport This Post
Ignored post by Heron Bay posted December 07, 2007 06:16 AM Show Post
Svein
Experienced Cruiser
Picture of Svein

Posted December 07, 2007 06:34 AM Hide Post

quote:
Originally posted by Heron Bay:

quote:
Originally posted by Svein:
Actually, it's far less than that as well. The MDWT of the Norway was 13960 tons. When they pull her further up the beach it will be less than that as well because then she will be close to light ship condition.


As Svein says, the deadweight tonnage (DWT) is now mostly absent.

But her displacement tonnage(the weight of water displaced by the floating hull, therefore her actual weight) was about 57,600 when she was FRANCE, and would of course be greater now given the upper deck additions she received as NORWAY.

So the vessel's actual weight is the factor with which the winches are coping as the breakers seek to drag her further onto the beach.

The 76,000-ton figure often quoted is her approximate gross tonnage, which is a measure of her interior spaces (100 cu ft=1 gross ton) and not of her weight.

Sorry to correct you Heron bay, but I think you've misunderstood.

Her actual weight, as you correctly call the displacement is light ship condition + dead weight. The actual displacement of the blue lady know is therefore dependent on how close to light ship condition they managed to strip her.

I don't know from where you have the numbers from France, but I believe it must be the old "goss register tons" (used as measurement before Gross Tonnage of 1969).

Posts: 313 | Registered: August 19, 2006 Reply With QuoteEdit or Delete MessageReport This Post
Ignored post by Svein posted December 07, 2007 06:34 AM Show Post
Heron Bay
Experienced Cruiser

Posted December 07, 2007 07:17 AM Hide Post

quote:
Originally posted by Svein:
Her actual weight, as you correctly call the displacement is light ship condition + dead weight. The actual displacement of the blue lady know is therefore dependent on how close to light ship condition they managed to strip her.

I don't know from where you have the numbers from France, but I believe it must be the old "goss register tons" (used as measurement before Gross Tonnage of 1969).


Actually, I don't think we're disagreeing, Svein. The weight of the vessel right now would be whatever weight of water she displaces minus the deadweight, which as I understand it is the total extra tonnage she was designed to carry: passengers, their belongings, any cargo, bunker fuel, stores, etc.

As FRANCE, the vessel's GRT was 66,348, her (app) displacement 57,600. These figures come from official French Line publicity issued at the time of her entry into service. Without checking, I seem to recall that the 1979-80 conversion to NORWAY raised gross tonnage initially to around 70,000, and the subsequent upper deck additions increased it to around 76,000. I have not seen displacement figures from that period, nor had I seen a DWT figure until now.

If we estimated the ship's loaded displacement in 2003 (light ship cond + DWT) as 65,000 and subtracted 13,960 (the DWT now mostly removed) we would be left with something like 51,000 tons of ship on the beach right now.

Does this make sense or am I missing something?

Posts: 255 | Location: Upstate NY | Registered: December 29, 2005 Reply With QuoteEdit or Delete MessageReport This Post
Ignored post by Heron Bay posted December 07, 2007 07:17 AM Show Post
Svein
Experienced Cruiser
Picture of Svein

Posted December 07, 2007 10:49 AM Hide Post
You're right Heron Bay. I misread the figures, I got a stability table of her at home which shows the displacement at various conditions. and her light ship condition is close to 51000 tons.

I mean I should know since I calculated her stabilty for several voyages.

Posts: 313 | Registered: August 19, 2006 Reply With QuoteEdit or Delete MessageReport This Post
Ignored post by Svein posted December 07, 2007 10:49 AM Show Post
Heron Bay
Experienced Cruiser

Posted December 07, 2007 11:26 AM Hide Post
Thanks, Svein. Actually, we very rarely hear much about passenger ships' displacement; gross tonnages are more revealing when comparing ship sizes. It's also the most misunderstood reference, with the majority of people assuming it refers to weight rather than space.

And again, although it too would probably be misunderstood, net tonnage would be an even better index of the amount of space on a passenger ship available to passengers, wouldn't it?

Interestingly, the GRT of FRANCE was 66,348 and 83,000 for NORMANDIE, yet FRANCE's net was 36,000 versus only 26,000 for NORMANDIE. I imagine the difference lay in smaller machinery spaces on FRANCE. Displacements were 56,000 for FRANCE, 70,000 for NORMANDIE; again, FRANCE had fewer boilers and incorporated lighter materials, including much aluminum in the superstructure.

Posts: 255 | Location: Upstate NY | Registered: December 29, 2005 Reply With QuoteEdit or Delete MessageReport This Post
Ignored post by Heron Bay posted December 07, 2007 11:26 AM Show Post
Derf
New Cruiser
Picture of Derf

Posted December 08, 2007 06:45 AM Hide Post
... am i the only one who would be more than interested to see what the starboard side of the ship now looks like? It seems there have been no recent pictures of the side facing away from the beach.

Metha hiding anything do you think??

Posts: 4 | Registered: December 06, 2007 Reply With QuoteEdit or Delete MessageReport This Post
Ignored post by Derf posted December 08, 2007 06:45 AM Show Post
Higger
New Cruiser

Posted December 08, 2007 07:25 PM Hide Post
There are certain mysterious coincidences with this Oct 29th, 2007 NTSB report.

I was looking for some background information, was surprised at the somewhat incoherent posts and news articles shown on BlueNorway.org, but moreso, when I looked for more information by searching that identity, I found this:

http://article.gmane.org/gmane.network.tor.user/8374

It should be noted that that content was posted on the 28th of October, and the US COAST GUARD inspector who's name was not "A.P." or a similarly questionable pseudonym is likely the wife of one of those lawyers.

Posts: 1 | Registered: December 08, 2007

Source: http://cruise-chat.com/eve/forums/a/tpc/f/303601132/m/4251015521/p/237
Gopal Krishna said…
The US National Transportation Safety Board investigated the S S Norway accident (Boiler Rupture on Bahamian Cruise Ship S/S Norway Port of Miami, Florida on May 25, 2003) under the authority of the Independent Safety Board Act of 1974 and according to Safety Board rules. The designated parties to the investigation were the U.S. Coast Guard; NCL; Bureau Veritas (BV), the classification society that inspected the SS Norway; Bahamas Maritime Authority, the vessel’s flag state; Siemens, the manufacturer of the vessel’s boiler control and monitoring system; and Lloyd Werft Shipyard, which performed or contracted out boiler repairs in Bremerhaven, Germany, in 1987 and 1990.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) determined the probable cause of the boiler rupture on the SS Norway was the deficient boiler operation, maintenance, and inspection practices of Norwegian Cruise Line, which allowed material deterioration and fatigue cracking to weaken the boiler. Inadequate boiler surveys by Bureau Veritas contributed to the cause of the accident. There were 911 crew members and 2,135 passengers. The accident caused 8 fatalities, 10 serious injuries and 7 minor injuries as per the NTSB report.

The Board members responsible for the report include Mark V Rosenker, Robert L Sumwalt, Deborah A P Hersman and Steven R Chealander. The Report was adopted on October 29, 2007. The Board member Kathryn O’ Leary Higgins voted to disapprove the report.
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Anonymous said…
Ship breaking case in High Court Division of the Supreme Court of Bangladesh

The Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association today moved a writ petition in respect of ship breaking in Bangladesh. Here is what follows:

To protect the workers employed in the ship breaking yards operating in
Sitakunda, Chittagong, a Writ Petition (No. 23 of 2008) was moved today
(07.01.2008) by Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association (BELA).

In this writ Petition Bela relied on relevant law e.i The Constitution of
the People's Republic of Bangladesh, the Fatal Accidents Act, 1855 (Act No.
XII of 1855), the Merchant Shipping Ordinance, 1983 (Ordinance No. XXVI of
1983), the Bangladesh Environment Conservation Act, 1995 (Act No. I of
1995) and Rules of 1997 made thereunder, the Coast Guard Act, 1994 (Act No.
XXVI of 1994), the Bangladesh Penal Code, 1860, the Bangladesh Labour Act,
2006 and other applicable laws, rules and regulations. and The Universal
Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), 1948, International Covenant on
Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, 1966 (as ratified by Bangladesh on 5
January, 1999), The Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary
Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal, 1989 (as accessed by
Bangladesh on 01 April, 1993), the Stockholm Convention, 2001 (as ratified
by Bangladesh on 12 March, 2007) and other applicable international legal
instruments.

In this petition the respondent are.Secretary, Ministry of Shipping,
Secretary, Ministry of Industries.Secretary, Ministry of
Commerce,Secretary, Ministry of Labour and Employment, Ministry of
Environment and Forest, Director General, Department of Environment,
Director General, Fire Service and Civil Defense, Director General,
Bangladesh Coast Guard, Director General, Department of Shipping, Chief
Inspector of Explosives, Department of Explosives, Chief Inspector of
Factories & Establishment, Deputy Commissioner, Chittagong,Collector of
Customs,Chairman, Chittagong Port Authority, Principal Officer, Mercantile
Marine Department, President, Bangladesh Ship Breakers Association,Owner,
Six Star Corporation, Owner, Lucky Field Yard, Owner, Sagarika Yard,
Shitalpur,Owner, Sajil Shipyard, near Saleh Carpet, Owner, Royal Steel,
Owner, Harun Still, Owner, G.L. Yards, Owner, Faizun Ship Yard, Carpet Area

and A division bench comprising Mr. Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain and Mr.
Justice Moinul Islam Chowdhury of the High Court Division of the Supreme
Court of Bangladesh has issued a Rule Nisi calling upon the respondents to
show cause as to why they should not be directed to take measures to
protect the labourers/workers employed in the ship breaking yards and to
adequately compensate the families of the deceased and the injured
labourers/workers against damages caused by explosions or otherwise in the
yards.

The Court also directed the Chief Inspector of Factories & Establishment,
and the Deputy Commissioner of Chittagong to file a report before the Court
within 3 months stating (i) the number of labourers/workers who have so far
died or been injured as a result of casualties in the ship breaking yards,
(ii) the reasons for such loss of life and injury of the labourers/workers,
the amount of compensation given to the families of the dead
labourers/workers and the injured labourers/workers and also (iii) the
measures taken by them to prevent such incidents of loss of life and injury.
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