01 May 2006

Bangladesh Govt bans scrapping toxic ship, Alfaship:

The government issued a temporary order Saturday refusing to allow scrapping of an oil tanker which, according to Greenpeace, contains toxic materials.

Alfaship, formerly named Alfa America, is one of the 50 ships the international environmental group Greenpeace has put on its watch-list of vessels believed to be contaminated.

The Bahamian-flagged ship arrived at Chittagong Port on Thursday and a shipbreaking yard owner, who now owns the oil tanker, sought government permission for scrapping it.

"We have refused permission for its scrapping in our waters after we saw its name on the Greenpeace watch-list," said Mercantile Marine Department Principal Officer Habibur Rahman.

He said, "The government has formed a probe committee including government officials and environment and nuclear wastes experts, which will inspect the ship to make a final decision on whether to allow the ship to be dismantled here or not."

But he did not give any timeframe for the decision.

The Greenpeace site does not mention what contaminants Alfaship contains and the Bangladesh authorities concerned also have no information about the alleged toxic materials.

Environmental activists here have censured the arrival of Alfaship in Bangladesh waters without government permission.

"The entry of Alfaship is illegal because it's a toxic ship. We have served a legal notice on the government so that it tells the ship to leave Bangladesh waters," Rizwana Hassan of Bangladesh Environment Lawyers' Association said.

The oil tanker was built in Nagasaki, Japan, and was sold to Polembros Shipping Ltd of Greece in 2002. It was last anchored off St Petersburg, Russia on August 28, 2005, according to Greenpeace.

Kashem, who owns a shipbreaking yard, later bought the vessel, he told the news agency.

Last February, the government refused to allow the scrapping of the asbestos-lined luxury ocean liner SS Norway in Sitakunda shipbreaking area, the second biggest in the world after Alang in India.

That ban came a day after French President Jacques Chirac had ordered the asbestos-lined warship Clemenceau, on its way to India for scrapping, back home from the Indian Ocean.

Shipbreaking yards in Bangladesh dismantle up to 80 ships, mostly oil tankers, a year. Operating on Sitakunda beach, 25 kilometres or 17 miles north of Chittagong City, they directly or indirectly employ 300,000 people.

Source: The Daily Star. 1 May 2006


Photographer: Enrico Righetti       

IMO number: 7716048
Category: Crude Oil Tankers
Description: 1979 Mitsubishi ex FINA AMERICA, NORDIC FAITH, renamed ALFASHIP. Scrapped Bangladesh April 2006
Gt: 51474
Dwt: 90000
Ship Name: SING LEE
IMO: 7716048
Flag: Bahamas

Source: ShipSpotting.Com