M A I N   N E W S

Decision on French ship’s entry after January 20
Vibha Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 6
The Supreme Court Monitoring Committee (SCMC) on Hazardous Waste, which met in Mumbai today, restrained the French warship Clemenceau from entering within the 200-km exclusive economic zone of India till January 20 after the company assigned the task of decontaminating and scrapping decommissioned French aircraft carrier Clemenceau, Technopure, deposed before it.

The SCMC will take the final decision at a meeting in New Delhi on January 20 and present its inferences on the controversial environmental issue to the Supreme Court after its receives “all possible information”.

Talking to The Tribune from Mumbai, SCMC member Claude Elvareshe said after receiving conflicting reports about the exact quantity of the harmful carcinogenic asbestos and other hazardous waste on board the warship, “the SCMC today decided to restrain Clemanceau from entering within 200 km of the exclusive economic zone of India. It has now been decided to keep the matter open for receiving all possible information about the exact quantity of hazardous material on the ship till January 20”

Mr Elvares said now the French Ambassador had expressed his desire to meet the committee. Technopure officials informed the SCMC that the warship contained more than 500 tonnes of asbestos, he said.

Technopure’s statement before the SCMC today more or less confirmed that the French Government had not come clean on the exact quantity of asbestos on board the aircraft carrier.

In fact, Project Manager of Technopure Eric Beaudon, who met members of the SCMC today, later told reporters in Mumbai that the company had so far removed 70 tonnes of asbestos from the ship, presenting photographic evidence of cable, steam generators that the warship was full of asbestos.

The French aircraft carrier Clemenceau, containing hazardous waste like asbestos, set course for the ship-breaking yard at Alang, off the Gujarat shore, for dismantling on December 31, 2005, after the French Government received a clearance from a high court there.

Technopure was assigned the job by French company Ship Decommissioned Industry Corporation (SDIC) which in turn had been mandated by the French Government to carry out decontamination and scrapping of the ship.


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