Press Release – NGO Calls on Italian Government to Ensure Clean and Safe Dismantling of Costa Concordia

Brussels, 6 May 2014 – The NGO Shipbreaking Platform, a global coalition of 19 environmental, human rights and labour rights organisations working to end polluting and dangerous shipbreaking, has sent a letter [1] to the Italian Environment minister to demand the safe and clean dismantling of the wrecked cruise ship Costa Concordia in accordance with Italian law and European law, particularly the EU Waste Framework Directive and the EU Ship Recycling Regulation. The Platform joins Greenpeace Italy, Legambiente and WWF Italy to voice concerns about the conditions in which the dismantling of the ship will take place and corroborates the Italian NGO’s earlier statements [2].

“The Italian Government must ask for the best possible techniques to reduce environmental risk during the towage and dismantling process”, said Patrizia Heidegger, Executive Director of the NGO Shipbreaking Platform. “The minimisation of environmental risks cannot be subordinated to financial and other interests and it is the Governments responsibility to avoid harm to the environment and public health”.

The Platform is calling on the Italian Environment minister to guarantee that the ship owner and insurance will choose the most suited final destination for the wreck. The decision must be based on an Environmental Impact Assessment, the results of which should be made available to the public. The EIA must be conducted on the basis of the proximity and self-sufficiency principles, which are fundamental principles of European waste law.

The Platform recommends that the wrecked cruise ship be towed to the closest port possible to limit as much as possible the release of polluted water into the sea, which could contaminate specially protected areas such as the Pelagos sanctuary.

The chosen ship recycling facility must comply with all domestic and European legislation governing waste management and environmental protection. The NGOs demand that the Italian Environment ministry monitor the company in charge of dismantling the Costa Concordia to guarantee that the environment and public health are protected throughout the whole duration of the dismantling operations, including the handling, transport and disposal of all hazardous waste that will be produced. The dismantling of the Costa Concordia is an opportunity to provide jobs in recycling and waste management and to excel in clean and safe ship recycling.

NOTES
[1] Read here the letter the Platform sent to the Environment Minister of Italy: http://bit.ly/1omjqKr
[2] Read here the joint statement of Legambiente, Greenpeace Italy and WWF Italy: http://bit.ly/1kFdNWB
The briefing by Greenpeace is available here: http://bit.ly/ReWj9m

CONTACT
Patrizia Heidegger
Executive Director
NGO Shipbreaking Platform
+32 2 6094 419
patrizia@shipbreakingplatform.org