The Telegram – Ready for the wreckers

(Written by Brodie Thomas)

1 November 2011 -The Caribou and the Smallwood have arrived at their final destination.

The two superferries were often parked side-by-side at the Marine Atlantic terminals in Port aux Basques and North Sydney.

Now they are side-by-side on the beach at Alang, India. Ships brought to Alang are dismantled for scrap metal and parts.

Alang has a reputation for practices that are environmentally unsound because shipbreaking is done on the beach instead of in a drydock where spills can be contained. Worker safety has also been questioned.

The 2004 National Film Board documentary “Shipbreakers” documents the living conditions of the workers.

A photo of the ships was obtained by blogger Peter Knego. He said the two ferries were beached on Oct. 17 and 19.

Knego received the photo from a photographer at Alang who wishes to remain anonymous.

 

“Both vessels are far out on the embankment and will need to be dragged ashore before stripping and demolition can proceed,” Knego wrote on the blog maritimematters.com.

The ship tracking website equasis.org now lists both ferries as “broken up.”

Previously, they were listed as “to be broken up.”

The ferries were sold by Marine Atlantic to separate buyers in August.

The Caribou was sold to Comrie Ltd. of St. Vincent and the Grenadines while the Smallwood was sold to Merrion Navigation S.A. of the Marshall Islands.

However, both ferries are now owned by Best Oasis Ltd. of India, according to online ship registries and that company’s website.

Marine Atlantic Spokesperson Tara Lang said the Crown corporation knew there was a possibility the ships would be broken up for scrap after they were sold.

“The buyers plans were to explore options to sell the vessels for trading purposes and if they were not successful then they would recycle them,” Lang wrote in an email to The Gulf News.

She said one condition of sale included a commitment that if either buyer decided to recycle the vessels, it would be done at a yard with full green recycling facilities in compliance with IMO guidelines.