18 September 2008

Bangladesh High Court stands in toxic ship's way:

The High Court yesterday stayed beaching of the Green Peace-listed hazardous ship MT Enterprise in the territory of Bangladesh.

Following a report published in The Daily Star styled "Toxic ship gets scrap nod" on Tuesday, Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association (BELA) filed a writ challenging the No Objection Certificate (NoC) given by the Department of Shipping regarding entry of the ship.

MT Enterprise is enlisted as one of the 50 dangerous ships in a chart prepared by the Green Peace.

The HC division bench of Justice Mirza Hossain Haider and Justice Mamnoon Rahman has also directed the government agencies to show cause as to why the issuance of NoC would not be declared arbitrary, discriminatory, unlawful, and against public and national interest.

The government agencies have also been directed to explain why they should not be directed to prevent the entry of any of the remaining hazardous vessels as listed by the Green Peace into the territorial waters of Bangladesh and also to frame necessary rules and regulations on ship breaking.

The BELA petition claims the Department of Shipping had first gave NoC to MT Enterprise and then cancelled it for concealing facts.

Subsequently, when MT Enterprise filed a case against the cancellation, a secretive inspection was carried out by the department that eventually certified the ship contains "waste within permissive limits" and withdrew the cancellation letter what created scope for the importer to beach the vessel.

In last two years, three ships listed as hazardous by the Green Peace -- the SS Norway, MT Alfaship and MT Aspheron -- were either refused entry into Bangladesh territory by the government or were sent back following protests from the environmentalists.

On behalf of BELA, former attorney general Barrister Fida M Kamal moved the petition.

Source: The Daily Star. 18 September 2008