16 August 2011

Commitment to highest environmental standards of ship dismantling as Rainbow Warrior II retires:

Greenpeace has handed over the Rainbow Warrior II to Friendship, a Bangladesh based NGO which specialises in medical care and emergency relief. The Rainbow Warrior will be renamed "Rongdhonu", Bengali for Rainbow. The ship will be refitted for use as a hospital ship and she will serve the coastal belt of Bangladesh and the Bay of Bengal, delivering primary and secondary medical assistance to some of the most vulnerable communities of the world. The Rongdhonu will also serve as an emergency medical ship around the region, enabling Friendship to bring medical aid to those areas which are already experiencing the effects of climate change.

Even though the ship will have a new name and a new mission, we will hold true to our principles when it comes to what happens to the ship when its useful life is over. That is why we have taken great care in our contract with Friendship that when the time comes for the Rongdhonu to be scrapped, that this will be done to the highest environmental standards and that we will provide financial assistance to make sure this happens. We also have the right of approval of any potential future owners to ensure that the commitment to these standards will be kept and that the ship would end her life in the manner she has advocated for us for so many years.


Q: Why is the ship no longer suitable for Greenpeace but still good enough for Friendship?

A: The vessel no longer meets the requirements for being an active campaigning ship and thus it is being converted into a hospital, staying in one area for at least a month. It will move from location to location, often staying close to the coast.

Q- What will be the role of Greenpeace if Friendship decides to handover Rongdhonu to a third party?

A: The responsibility of scrapping the vessel lies with Greenpeace, and we will ensure that the dismantling is carried out on the standards laid down by Greenpeace.

Q- Is Greenpeace transferring the responsibility of end of life management of Rainbow Warrior-II by transferring the ownership of the vessel to ‘Friendship’?

A: We are enhancing the life span of Rainbow Warrior-II which is in accordance with the principle of 3 R- Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. Greenpeace will be responsible to scrap the ship in the manner which it has campaigned for. We intend that the eventual scrapping of Rongdhonu becomes a benchmark for the shipbreaking industry. The Greenpeace role in the scrapping of the vessel will involve the financial and technical assistance in order to ensure that all the principles of environmentally sound recycling and the position on the ship breaking campaign are met.

Q- What are the standards Greenpeace will follow for dismantling the vessel?

A: Greenpeace does not endorse and support the International Maritime Organisation’s (IMO) Hong Kong Ship recycling convention; therefore it will develop its own standard of scrapping of Rongdhonu. Greenpeace would also provide assistance to tow (incase the ship is unable to sail on its own) the ship to an acceptable location that can scrap the ship to our standards.

Q- What is the Greenpeace position on the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) Hong Kong convention?

A: Greenpeace has been campaigning for years to get strongest measures from IMO to ensure the scrapping of vessels in the most environmentally sound manner. We have also been campaigning to stop the dumping of hazardous waste from the developed countries into the developing countries. We believe that the developed countries should take major responsibility for scrapping of end of life vessels in standards which do not compromise with human health and environment. Thus, Greenpeace does not approve of the IMO’s Hong Kong convention on ship recycling. We continue to work with friends and allies to create a pressure on IMO to accept the provision formulated by Basel convention.

Q- What is Greenpeace position on dumping of hazardous waste in developing countries?

A: Greenpeace position related to hazardous waste trade is in line with the principle of Basel convention which we have championed and helped created.  Greenpeace strongly believes that the ship owner or the developed country must take the responsibility to ensure that the hazardous waste is being handled in a manner which doesn’t compromise on human health and environment.

Q- What is the role of Greenpeace in shipbreaking campaign?

A: Greenpeace is not directly involved in the day to day campaigning on shipbreaking, but does play an important role as a member of NGO Shipbreaking Platform (http://www.shipbreakingplatform.org/v2/) on shipbreaking. Greenpeace had created the platform to ensure that the campaign is not left in vacuum and the issues are being addressed to in a responsible manner. Greenpeace on a regular basis advises and suggests various groups on the issues related to hazardous waste in general and ship breaking in particular. Greenpeace would be happy to provide any support to any group on the issue.

Source: Greenpeace. By Ramapati Kumar. 16 August 2011

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