19 June 2008

Asbestos aboard: Owners or pirates?

LNG carrier Edouard LD owned by Gaz de France and Louis Dreyfus Armateurs is ill-fated to demolition. She is beyond limits. The average age of gas carriers when they are scrapped is 30. The Edouard LD is under French flag. In accordance to the French case-law, the Edouard LD has to be demolished in an Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) country or outside OECD under the condition she would be subjected to a preliminary extraction of asbestos and other dangerous wastes.

Edouard LD lightweight is 28.000 t, with a lot of non ferrous metals. She could be sold at 850 $ per ton at least in Bangladesh. She holds between 800 and 1,000 t of asbestos and asbestos-containing materials. To dodge the French rules, the French owners are considering to sell the Edouard LD to a Greek tanker fleet owner, Dynacom, whose other activity consists in speculative trading of ships to be demolished.

The same device has been used by Gaz de France to sell the Descartes (Cf. « Shipbreaking 2007 », pp 22, 28, 42). This gas carrier was at the end of her tether in the opinion of her past crewmen and other authorized sources. She has been sold for a so-called exploitation as a LNG carrier to Taiwanese owner TMT. The sale occured in August 2007 and the Descartes became Prince Charming under Panamean flag.

Three months later, she was renamed Charm Junior and sold to a Singapore broker specialized in ships at the end of their life and in selling them at the best offered price in Asia. The ex-Descartes is going to be demolished in Bangladesh. She has been sold around 14 millions dollars because of the presence of stainless and non-ferrous metals. Gaz de France is said to have sold the Descartes to TMT at 6-8 millions dollars.

It is too late for a convenient demolition of the ex-Descartes with preliminary extraction of asbestos and others. It is not too late for the Edouard LD. Robin des Bois asks Gaz de France and Louis Dreyfus Armateurs, the two French owners to sell her directly, without a go-between, to a European ship-breaking yard, or an Asian one in the frame of a specific technical and financial partnership.

Moreover, the German company KGAL, subsidiary of Allianz and Dresdner Bank, is always attempting to sell at the best price in Asia the container ships Ankara, Maersk Brisbane and Maersk Barcelona built in 1975-1976 of which the engines implement important quantitie of asbestos. (cf. « Oil slick Queen demolished in Bagladesh ? »)

It is urgent that the European owners establish active partnerships with Asian shipbreaking yards and in the most dangerous cases for work force and environment use the available European sites.

Source: Robin Des Bois. Press Release. 19 June 2008

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