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Toxic ship not to enter India till Feb 13

SDIC gave an undertaking before SC that it would not allow Clemenceau to enter India's exclusive economic zone.

india Updated: Jan 16, 2006 16:54 IST

The French toxic ship, Clemenceau, will not be allowed into Indian waters till February 13.

Shipping Decommissioning Industry Corporation (SDIC), which bought the decommissioned aircraft carrier Clemenceau from the French government for dismantling in India, gave the assurance on Monday to the Supreme Court which will take up the case again on February 13.

SDIC gave an undertaking before the apex court that it would not allow the Clemenceau to enter India's "exclusive economic zone" while the matter was pending before the apex court.

The court also directed the custom's department to intimate their stand on the entry of Clemenceau.

A bench of Justice Arijit Pasayat and Justice S.H. Kapadia took up for consideration the report of the Supreme Court Monitoring Committee on Hazardous Waste that met in Mumbai this month, stating that the ship should not be allowed to enter Indian waters as it contained a large quantity of asbestos.

Counsel for SDIC requested the court to adjourn the matter since the committee was to meet again in Mumbai Jan 20.

The court should await the final recommendation of the committee before causing any order, counsel said.

However, counsel gave the undertaking that the company would not allow the ship to enter India's territorial waters while the matter was pending before the Supreme Court.

In the light of this undertaking, the bench adjourned the hearing until Feb 13.

The bench also asked the customs department to file an affidavit whether allowing the ship to enter India would be in consonance with the Basel Convention.

The Clemenceau, heading for the Alang ship-breaking yard in Gujarat, is facing protests from environmental groups.

The toxic ship is en route to India through the Suez Canal, after a three-day hold up following its interception by Egyptian authorities. They approved the transit of the ship, heading for the Alang ship-breaking yard in Gujarat, through the Canal on Sunday.

Egyptian officials had blocked the Clemenceau from entering the canal on Thursday as they demanded documents from the French government to confirm the vessel was not carrying hazardous materials.

The ship carries 45 tonnes of asbestos on board.

"Following the agreement by the French government to export the Clemenceau in its current state and India's agreement to take it for dismantling, the French aircraft carrier does not pose an environmental threat to Egypt," the ministry said in a statement carried by the state news agency, MENA.

First Published: Jan 16, 2006 13:04 IST