SC slams brakes on toxic cruise | india | Hindustan Times
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SC slams brakes on toxic cruise

WORKERS AT Alang shipyard might just have been spared a brush with poison. The entry of the toxic French warship Le Clemenceau's into Indian waters appears unlikely with the Supreme Court on Monday saying it would not allow the vessel to be dismantled in Gujarat until the customs department clarifies its stand.

india Updated: Jan 17, 2006 12:24 IST

WORKERS AT Alang shipyard might just have been spared a brush with poison. The entry of the toxic French warship Le Clemenceau's into Indian waters appears unlikely with the Supreme Court on Monday saying it would not allow the vessel to be dismantled in Gujarat until the customs department clarifies its stand.

A bench comprising Justice Arijit Pasayat and Justice S H Kapadia has asked the customs to file an affidavit. Stating that it could not allow Indian waters to be polluted, the bench said, "Even if the high-level committee on hazardous waste management clears dismantling of the ship, we will not permit it without examining the stand of the customs department.”

The Shipping Decommissioning Industry Corporation has also assured the court that the ship will ship will not enter India’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), which extends up to 220 nautical miles off the coastline, till the Supreme Court committee takes a decision. The court adjourned the matter till February 13.

But the controversy has turned murkier with French daily Le Monde claiming that a letter from the Indian Embassy in Paris — stating the Gujarat government had no objections to the ship’s entry — led Egypt to allow safe passage to Clemenceau.

Government sources in New Delhi denied issuing any letter to the Egyptian government. But the embassy reportedly did issue such a go-ahead before the ship left France. When there was no word from the Indian government, the Egyptian government went by the letter.

Greenpeace’s campaigner Ramapati Kumar said the Indian government lost a chance to stop th ship and wondered why the ministry of environment and forest has maintained a mysterious silence on the issue.