Parliamentary Standing Committee (PSC) on Transport, Tourism and Culture
We submit that ships of Maersk are in violation of Hon’ble Supreme Court’s order and the Shipbreaking Code. Hon’ble Court has upheld UN’s Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal. The implication of this direction is that all the ships which are entering the Indian territorial waters have to show compliance of Hon’ble Court’s order seeking prior decontamination of the ship in the country of export. In case there is non-compliance, all these ships should go back to country of origin. Hon’ble Court has categorically said in its order of July 2012 that all Ships coming for dismantling have to follow Basel Convention and if there is any violation, action should be taken according to the Municipal Laws.
We wish to draw your attention towards the 15 page judgment of Hon’ble Court dated July 30, 2012 in the matter of end of life US ship Exxon Valdez. Hon’ble Court conclusively directed that "...in all future cases of a similar nature, the concerned authorities shall strictly comply with the norms laid down in the Basel Convention or any other subsequent provisions that may be adopted by the Central Government in aid of a clean and pollution free maritime environment, before permitting entry of any vessel suspected to be carrying toxic and hazardous material into Indian territorial waters."
The July 30, 2012 judgment reads: "Such relief would, of course, be subject to compliance with all the formalities as required by the judgments and orders passed by this Court on 14th October, 2003, 6thSeptember, 2007 and 11th September, 2007 in the Writ Petition."
The fact is Hon'ble Court order of October 14, 2003 reads: "At the international level, India should participate in international meetings on ship-breaking at the level of the International Maritime Organisation and the Basel Convention’s Technical Working Group with a clear mandate for the decontamination of ships of their hazardous substances such as asbestos, waste oil, gas and PCBs, prior to export to India for breaking. Participation should include from Central and State level.”
We submit that the report of Danwatch et al underline the dubious practices of Maersk in the sale of 14 ships for dismantling on the beaches of Bangladesh and India. ToxicsWatch Alliance (TWA) has learnt that these reports have been broadcasted and published on TV2 and Politiken respectively besides its dissemination by others in the media. We wish to inform you that drawing on DanWatch findings a Brussels based group NGO Platform on Shipbreaking has disclosed that in late 2013,Maersk sought early termination of a charter party for 14 ships due to the vessels’ poor rentability and the general overcapacity in the container ship market.
We submit that Maersk did a volte face and has continued in a business as usual manner of contaminating Alang beach.
We submit that Gujarat Maritime Board and Gujarat Pollution Control Board is complicit in allowingMaersk to promote environmentally damaging beaching method, which has been abandoned by Europe, the US and China.
We submit that the recent report reveals that workers face grave enviro-occupational health hazards and unsafe working environment. The workers who employed at Shree Ram and who involved in the demolition of the Maersk Georgia and the Maersk Wyoming do not have any contract or any written document regarding their employment.
(Allocation of Business) Rules, 1961 given the fact that the shipbreaking is admittedly an exercise in secondary steel production.
We submit that Union Ministry of Shipping has informed the Rajya Sabha about its failure to get “Different type of dangerous and Hazardous goods” lying at different ports from different dates starting from March 1983 removed. In a specific case of containers of “Methyl Monomer” lying at New Mangalore port, it was stated that it is there because of “Inadequate storage space in the factory premises of M/s BASF, Mangalore”, the importer. BASF is the world's largest producer of acrylic monomer. BASF is the largest chemical company in the world and is headquartered in Germany. Is it convincing that such a company has “Inadequate storage space in the factory premises”?
and Hazardous goods” is highly questionable.
companies who are attempting to escape their decontamination and environmental and occupational healthy safety costs in their own countries have already succeeded in diluting the European regulation
with regard to end-of-life ships. Now they are working to formalize the dilutions that they have achieved in terms of enforcement of pre-existing regulations created on the lines of Basel Convention through repeated attempts to create precedents for transfer of their dead ships without prior-decontamination in the country of export. The case of Maersk ships is part of that game plan.
We submit that the text of Hong Kong Convention which was adopted by the IMO in May 2009 fails to prevent the transboundary movement of hazardous wastes found within end-of-life ships and is insensitive towards human rights and environmental damages caused by shipbreaking yards on the Alang beach in Gujarat. Similar situations exist with regard to ship breaking yards in Bangladesh and Pakistan.
We submit that the text of the Hong Kong Convention cremates the Polluter Pays/Producer Responsibility Principle, Environmental Justice Principle, Waste Prevention/Substitution Principles and Principle of National Self Sufficiency in Waste Management.
As per Ship Breaking Code 2013, “All ships entering Indian Maritime Zones are required to inform Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC). The prior information to Port shall also include that the ship, as it enters Indian Search and Rescue Region (ISRR) should pass its information to MRCC/Indian Coast Guard stating that it is bound for Recycling Yards for ship recycling.” The committee should examine the circumstances that led to anchoring and beaching of these Danish ships in violation of every rule in the rule book.
As per this Code, after intimating Expected Time of Arrival, the shipowner or recycler shall submit the following information/documents 3 weeks before the expected arrival of the ship for recycling for a desk review by the State Maritime Board/Port Authority, State Pollution Control Board and the Customs Department and pay port charges for obtaining permission for the ship to enter the port. It is also relevant to note that as per the Code, “Directorate of Shipping in consultation with Coast Guards Department shall verify the genuineness of the documents submitted by the ship owner or recycler at the desk review stage on the request of SMB/Ports Authority of the State and if it is found that any document is fake or conceal any material fact, ship owner/recycler shall be informed of denial of permission to the ship entering Indian waters.”
It is evident that Government of India is not offering resistance to dumping of wastes because concerned ministers and officials are hand in glove with the hazardous waste traders. There is documentary evidence in this regard. The movement of hazardous waste in the physical space and in the policy space is quite explicit. The domestic rules for regulation of hazardous wastes like end-of-life ships has been framed, reframed, amended and diluted to offer a regime of free trade in hazardous waste to international shipping companies and recyclers. The violation of these rules has been underway for quite some time due to deliberate lack of coordination between central ministries of defense, commerce, finance, shipping, steel, and environment, forests and climate change. In effect, country’s sovereignty is being compromised undermining its security ecosystem.
National Human Rights Commission (NHRC). It has appeared before the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Science, Technology, Environment & Forests, Parliamentary Petitions Committee, Parliamentary Standing Committee on Food, Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution Parliamentary Standing Committee on Labour and relevant UN agencies besides Inter-Ministerial Committee on Ship breaking. It was the applicant before Hon’ble Supreme Court wherein the order for creation of the Shipbreaking Code was passed. TWA had appeared before the Hon'ble Court’s Monitoring Committee on Hazardous Wastes, Court’s Technical Experts Committee on Hazardous Wastes related to Ship breaking and pursued cases involving famous ships like RIKY (Kong Frederik IX), Le Clemenceau, SS Blue Lady, Platinum II and Exxon Valdez and others. It has been an invitee to UN Meetings and training workshops of Comptroller Auditor General of India on environmental health.
We will be happy to appear before the Committee with relevant documents and facts.
ToxicsWatch Alliance (TWA)
Shri Nitin Gadkari, Union Minister, Ministry of Shipping, Government of India
Hon’ble Members of Parliamentary Standing Committee (PSC) on
Transport, Tourism and Culture-
Shri Narendra Kumar Swain
Shri Lal Sinh Vadodia
Shri Ritabrata Banerjee
Dr. Prabhakar Kore
Shri Rangasayee Ramakrishna
Dr. K. Chiranjeevi
Shri Rajeev Shukla
Ms Kumari Selja
Shri Kiranmay Nanda
Shri Ram Kumar Sharma
Shri Yogi Adityanath
Shri Subrata Bakshi
Shri Ram Charitra
Shri Manoj Kumar Tiwari .
Shri Rajeshbhai Naranbhai Chudasama
Shri Harish Chandra Meena
Shri Kunwar Haribansh Singh
Shri Rahul Kaswan
Shri Ponguleti Srinivasa Reddy
Shri Rajesh Pandey
Shri Prathap Simha
Shri Vinod Chavda
Km. Arpita Ghosh
Shri Dushyant Singh
Shri Rajesh Ranjan (Pappu Yadav)
Shri Rakesh Singh
Shri Kristappa Nimmala
Shri P. Kumar
Shri K. C. Venugopal
Shri Shatrughan Prasad Sinha