SP and Labour agree: Asbestos ship the Otapan must return to dock and stay there

16 August 2006

SP and Labour agree: Asbestos ship the Otapan must return to dock and stay there

SP Member of Parliament Krista van Velzen and her Labour Party (PvdA) colleague Guus Krähe are demanding that Secretary of State for the Environment Pieter Van Geel ensure that the asbestos—contaminated ship the Otapan remain in dock. Doubts have been raised by experts over the accuracy of the amount of asbestos declared in the ship's consignment note, the probability being that the ship contains ten tonnes of asbestos rather than one tonne, as stated.

The Turkish government was well within its rights to order the ship to be sent back to the Netherlands, and the two MPs are now insisting that all available information is made public and an enquiry conducted, during which the ship must remain in dock. “It is scandalous that the Dutch authorities is jeopardising the the safety of Turkey's people and its environment,” Ms Van Velzen said. “This ship must be dismantled under supervision according to the Netherlands' strict environmental conditions and standards of worker protection.”

The Otapan is, following the Rotterdam in Gdansk, the second ship this summer to have been offered for scrapping carrying possibly false information. Moreover, shipyards in Turkey do not, according to the Platform on Shipbreaking, conform to Dutch standards of worker protection or environmental norms. “It's time the Netherlands or at least western Europe constructed its own shipbreaking yard, so that we could avoid this sort of problem,” Van Velzen said. “It's our waste and we shouldn't be using economic arguments to dump it on other countries which can scrap it for less cost in money but at greater cost to the environment and workers' health.”

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