The Daily Star – Scrap ship import gets further extension

21 July 2011- A High Court bench on Thursday further extended its order till October 12 allowing conditional import of toxic ships and their dismantling.

It extended the time on grounds that importers and breakers must ensure public and workers’ safety and environmental protection.

A division bench comprising Justice AHM Shamsuddin Chowdhury Manik and Justice Gobinda Chandra Tagore passed the order in response to a writ petition by Bangladesh Ship Breakers Association (BSBA).

Earlier on March 7, the HC first permitted import of hazardous ships and their scraping for two months on several conditions, saying that no ships can be scrapped without cleaning toxic gas, and asbestos and toxic materials must be removed by experts before scraping.

It ordered the director general of Department of Environment to form a three-member committee within 15 days to monitor whether the importers and ship breakers are complying with the conditions given.

The committee had been asked to submit a monitoring report before the court within a month.

The court also asked the government to frame rules to ban import of any hazardous ships by October 12.

The HC on December 15, last year directed the government to frame rules in the light of relevant laws in next three months.

On May 5, in response to a similar petition filed by BSBA, another HC bench extended the order passed on March 7 till July 5.

Following a writ petition by Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association (Bela), the HC ordered the government in 2009 and again in last December that no scrap ship will enter the country without pre-cleaning and environmental certificate.

Advocate Anisul Huq, counsel for BSBA, on Thursday told the HC that their clients are properly complying with the conditions imposed by this court on March 7 in respect of import and scraping ships.

Additional Attorney General Murad Reza informed the court that the government needs more time to frame the rules.

Bela’s counsel Iqbal Kabir Lytton opposed the extension of HC order.