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Written By Gopal Krishna on Monday, July 14, 2008 | 4:06 AM
India is infamous for its ship graveyards which are amongst the most toxic places on the planet, but apparently the former flagship of the French Navy is too toxic for the Indian salvage yards to deal with, so the ship will end its existence in Britain.
After many twists and turns, the Clemenceau will be finally dismantled by the British company Able UK, which is located in the north-east of England.
The former aircraft carrier, now designated under the name Hull Q790, has been docked at the military port of Brest since May 2006, after a journey of 18,000 km between Toulon, India and Britain, against a backdrop of controversy around the presence of asbestos on board the vessel.
Able UK, which claims to have the largest dry-dock in the world has announced that Q790 will move to the port of Graythorp sometime during the summer and that the work of recycling, which includes asbestos removal, would be completed at the same time as other boats already moored on the site, including four vessels of the fleet reserve American and three British vessels
In an article last December, the company was not even cited among the outsiders, just Sita, a subsidiary of Suez, or Italian Simont.
The Belgian Galloo Recycling and French Veolia Clean then seemed better placed to deal with the work.
But then British Environment Agency allowed a waste management licence that allows Able UK to break up ships and oil platforms at its Graythorp ‘TERRC’ site, and the French Defence Ministry then decided to award the contract to the company.
Able UK has assured the Environment Agency that it is capable of safely handling up to 700 tonnes of asbestos waste at the plant in an environmentally safe manner.
The announcement of the choice of Able UK foreshadows the signing of a formal contract.
Great Britain and France have yet to issue an authorisation for the transfer, a procedure that will take several weeks, after which the former Clemenceau can leave the harbour of Brest and head for its final resting place in the UK.
The deal, if completed, will assure around 170 jobs already in place at the facility.
This is assuming that ‘Green’ protesters do not return to the site where they have previously demonstrated against an earlier deal to break up a US ship.
In his long career, the Clemenceau has come close to a million nautical miles, or about fifty times around the globe, 3,125 days at sea.
Some 20,000 sailors served on board.
by Alan Harten
July 3, 2008