Hindustan Times – SC’s no to toxic US ship’s entry into Indian ports

(Written by Chetan Chauhan)

7 May 2012 - The Supreme Court on Monday refused permission to US toxic ship Oriental Nicety, which is involved in the worst oil spill disaster in Alaska in 1989, for beaching in Indian ports till it is properly decontaminated. Oriental Nicety, also known as Exxon Valdez, entered Indian waters over a month ago and has been awaiting permission for entry into an Indian port. The ship is destined for breaking at the world’s biggest ship breaking yard in Alang, Gujarat, where a local agent bought it last week.

Sanjay Parekh of Research Foundation for Science had moved an application in the apex court, saying the ship should not be allowed to enter an Indian port as it has not been decontaminated.

Under the international treaty on trans-boundary movement of ships, the Basel Convention, the vessels, which have not been de-contaminated at the port of export, cannot be allowed entry to the waters of the developing countries.

Parekh claimed that the US ship had not been decontaminated in the port of export and it amounted to violation of the Basel convention.

The US had refused to sign the convention that prevents rich nations from dumping hazardous waste in ships in the developing countries. Many toxic ships from the US reach ports of the developing countries for breaking.

The court asked the central government to ensure that the ship is not allowed entry to any Indian port until it meets the Basel Convention guidelines and is decontaminated properly.

Gopal Krishna of NGO ToxicWatch said the ship could not be allowed entry as it violated Basel Convention and CBCB norms.