16 February 2006

Clemenceau: Turning point in shipbreaking industry

Greenpeace invites shipbreaking industry to take leadership

Greenpeace activists board the carrier ship Clemenceau 50 nautical miles off the coast of Egypt, hanging a banner that reads “Asbestos carrier stay out of India.” Greenpeace is protesting against transit of the Clemenceau, which has been sent to India for decommissioning despite widespread outrage at the high levels of asbestos and other hazardous materials it contains

Press release:

New Delhi, India — In response to the French Government's decision to recall their warship, Le Clemenceau, to France, Greenpeace invited members of the Indian shipbreaking association to take advantage of the opportunity to transform the Indian shipbreaking industry to international standards in alignment with national and international law and respect for human rights and environment.

"The writing is on the wall; the industry must acknowledge that competitive advantage cannot be based on exploitation.  There is an urgent need for new vision and leadership in Alang," said Ramapati Kumar, Toxics Campaigner, Greenpeace India, "We have written to the shipbreakers' association offering to work closely with them to ensure that Alang becomes the destination of choice for responsible dismantling of end-of-life ships."

"It is a victory for the workers in the shipbreaking yards across Asia who will be beneficially impacted by this decision," said All India Trade Union Congress deputy secretary H. Mahadevan, "We will take steps to ensure that the unorganized workers of Alang are aware of their rights and demand improved facilities from authorities."

President Chirac has indicated that this is a moment of transformation for the entire industry. Commentators in France are hailing this as the beginning of a new era for economic cooperation between the global North and South.

"We urge the Indian and French governments to use the opportunity presented by President Chirac's visit to create a new model for Indo-European trade, one that equally emphasizes economic benefits, environmental sustainability and human rights," said G. Ananthapadmanabhan, Executive Director, Greenpeace India, "The French expressed their concern for Indian environment and worker safety, manifested in their offer to transfer technology to Alang. We expect President Chirac to commit firmly to this offer during his visit to India."

Source: Greenpeace. 16 February 2006

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