Malta latest to turn away asbestos ship

22 September 2006

Malta latest to turn away asbestos ship

Environment Secretary Pieter van Geel should recall the asbestos ship Otapan to the Netherlands now that it has been turned away by Malta, argues SP Member of Parliament and environment spokeswoman Krista van Velzen. Ms Van Velzen will use Tuesday’s parliamentary question time to ask the Secretary of State how long the poison ship’s wanderings must continue, in view of the fact that since it was refused berthing by Turkish authorities a month ago a solution to the problem it poses remains elusive.

Krista van Velzen"This ship, with its asbestos, PCBs and other toxic substances has, after almost two months, still not found a port in which it can be scrapped,” said Van Velzen. “The longer this goes on, the greater the danger that the owner will decide to scuttle it in the ocean or have it scrapped in India or Pakistan in a manner which will lead to great damage to human health and the environment. The Netherlands allowed the ship to embark with a permit issued on the basis of information regarding the quantity of asbestos on board which turns out to have been false. Van Geel has recognised that this was a mistake, but is consequence is that no port will allow the Otapan access. The Netherlands must now take responsibility for the failure to monitor the ship properly and have the ship returned."

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