23 July 2003 - The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) has refused to accept a sculpture presented to it by the environmental organisation Greenpeace in London recently.
The sculpture has been crafted from the funnels of five ships demolished in Alang, Gujarat, one of which had been rocked by an explosion that killed nine people.
More than 25 labourers have died in Alang while cutting up ships over the last six months. The 2.5-tonne sculpture is an ironic memento of Greenpeace’s campaign against unethical practices in the shipbreaking industry that the IMO has not been able to curb.
Greenpeace is about to lose its consultancy status at the IMO, which draws up treaties and formulates policies to prevent loss of life at sea and stave off marine pollution. Ship-breaking will be discussed at the IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee meeting being held this week.
Although Greenpeace claims that its ouster has been planned by disgruntled maritime states annoyed by attempts to make them responsible for the explosions that occur when tankers are cut up, the IMO states that a final decision has yet to be taken.