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Another toxic tub heads for India

After France's Clemenceau, Malaysia's SS Norway is on Greenpeace's radar.

india Updated: May 09, 2006 17:58 IST

After the French ship Clemenceau, Malaysian cruise liner SS Norway is now on the radar of Greenpeace, who are opposing its entry into India.

The ship is being brought to Gujarat to be dismantled at the shores.

The environment watchdog claimed that the cruiser, popularly known as 'Blue Lady', one of the top 50 toxic ships in the world, had left the Malaysian coast on last Friday and is expected to reach Alang in Gujarat by May 23.

"The ship carries 900 tonnes of asbestos and also many other types of globally-banned toxic materials, including a cancer causing chemical known as polychlorinate biphenyis," Greenpeace campaigner Ramapati Kumar told a press conference.

He claimed that the ship, which belonged to Malaysian Star Cruises Ltd, has been purchased by a private shipping company in Alang at cost of $17 million.

The French President had recalled Clemenceau, while it was on its way to India in February this year, following the controversy over its alleged high levels of toxicity.

Alleging that the government had not yet formed any policy on environmentally-safe ship-breaking, Kumar said, "There are a lot of initiatives being taken by various countries all over the world on safe shipbreaking. However, the Indian government is yet to wake up to the issue."

He said that Bangladesh had already refused to allow the ship into its waters for dismantling. "When Bangladesh did not allow dismantling of SS Norway, why is the Indian government allowing it to come here," the Greenpeace campaigner said.