24 July 2011

Bangladesh shipbreaking: Scrap ship import gets further extension

The High Court yesterday once again extended till October 12 its order allowing conditional import and dismantling of toxic ships, mentioning the importers and shipbreakers must ensure workers' and environmental safety.

An HC bench of Justice AHM Shamsuddin Chowdhury Manik and Justice Gobinda Chandra Tagore passed the order after hearing a petition filed by Bangladesh Ship Breakers' Association (BSBA) seeking permission to import ships for scrapping.

It ordered the director general of Department of Environment to form and lead a three-member committee within 15 days to monitor whether the conditions on import and scrapping of ships are complied with.

The principal of Bangladesh Marine Academy and the head of chemistry department at Chittagong University will be the other members of the committee. The court asked them to submit a report on its supervision to it within a month.

The bench also asked the government to frame rules by October 12 banning import of toxic ships.

The same court on March 7 permitted import and scrapping of hazardous ships for two months clarifying no ships can be scrapped without cleaning toxic gas and asbestos in presence of experts.

The BSBA is properly complying with the import conditions imposed by this court on March 7, BSBA's counsel Anisul Huq told the court yesterday.

Additional Attorney General Murad Reza sought more time for the government to frame the rules.

Advocate Iqbal Kabir Lytton, counsel of Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association (Bela), opposed the extension of HC order.

In response to a similar petition filed by BSBA, another HC bench on May 5 extended the order till July 5.

Following a writ petition filed by Bela, the HC ordered the government in 2009 and again in last December not to allow entry into the country any scrap ship without pre-cleaning and environmental certificate.

Source: The Daily Star. 22 July 2011

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