29 September 2011

Chinese toxic ship finally leaves Chittagong:

The illegally imported Chinese toxic ship MV Asia Union, which was asked to stay off the Chittagong port on its arrival on Monday, has finally left the Bangladesh waters.

Tajminur Rahman, senior assistant director of the Department of Environment, confirmed the departure of the ship imported by Cosco Shipping, a subsidiary of Beijing-based China Ocean Shipping Company. The company did not obtain the No Objection Certificate from the authorities.

Formerly known as MV Humber and MV Cast Otter, the Asia Union was detected with at least 79 “deficiencies” since 2010 at different ports. It reportedly contains hazardous substances including asbestos, polychlorinated biphenyl, toxic paints and chemical residues that have adverse effects on humans, wildlife and the environment.

The Daily Star on Friday reported the imminent arrival of the ship, whose movement is monitored by international maritime watchdogs.

As soon as the ship reported its arrival at 3:30am on Monday, the port authorities ordered it to stay out of the port, which is 5.5 nautical miles (nearly 10km) from Patenga, Captain Nazmul Alam, deputy conservator of Chittagong port, told The Daily Star.
Sources in the shipbreaking industry said most of the importers do not comply with the law because they can manage the authorities.

India, China, Pakistan and Bangladesh are the leading shipbreaking countries in Asia. Bangladesh is considered a dumping ground for toxic ships for its lax laws.

The authorities granted dismantling more than 100 ships in shipbreaking yards in Sitakunda since the High Court on March 7 conditionally relaxed restrictions on purchase of ships for dismantling.

Source: The Daily Star. 29 September 2011

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