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"Oh what wicked webs we weave, when first we practise to deceive....." This is steadily and rapidly turning into a French Farce.

On Radio 4, yesterday, an American 'expert' in these matters claimed that he knew of at least four US companies who were begging to undertake this clean-up work (begging the question why are they being sent to the UK?) and that he had not yet heard one reasonable answer as to why these ships had left US waters to be cut up!

He also claimed, interestingly (if any of the ships were to sink in 'shallow' water en route to Teeside), that they would make - if the poisonous PCBs (?) were removed (de rigeur and considered 'no worries' when a number of the ships were constructed in 1945), then they would make splendid 'artificial reefs', as the asbestos lining of the ships' piping and keel-cladding would not create a bio-hazard if submerged/wrecked.

About time this country stopped scapping (i.e. cutting-up for scrap) former Royal and Merchant Navy vessels and, after clean-up, started putting them down as artificial reefs - think of the diving possibilities and the safe environment they'd make for declining fish-stocks!


Town plea to bar toxic US fleet
By Graham Tibbetts
(Filed: 05/11/2003)


A council leader urged the Government yesterday to refuse entry to a fleet of ships from the United States.

Four vessels containing hundreds of tons of hazardous material are sailing to a breaker's yard in Hartlepool, Teesside, for recycling.

But town councillors joined the growing protests, voting unanimously to lobby the Transport Secretary, Alistair Darling, to reroute the ships. Their call comes several days after the Environment Agency said it had withdrawn permission for the yard, Able UK, to break up the vessels as it had failed to meet all conditions.

Following the extraordinary council meeting the chairman, Carl Richardson, said: "Hartlepool councillors are firmly of the view that the ships cannot be allowed to enter British waters given that there are a number of permissions not in place."

Two of the rusting vessels, built in 1945 and containing asbestos, lead, mercury, oil and carcinogenic polychlorinated biphenyls, are expected to reach British waters tomorrow. Two more are a week behind and nine are still in Virginia.

But the Department for Transport said it could intervene only once the ships had entered British waters.

At the High Court in London today Friends of the Earth will seek revocation of licences issued to Able UK.

The Caniste, one of the four polluted US ships currently crossing the Atlantic:
 

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I can see you point but I look at it from the other side. I'm tired of America being the poluting, toxic cesspool of the world, refusing to acknowledge the long term effects of CO2 ommissions, vetoing (and thereby wrecking) the Kyoto agreement and then trying to dump their crap as far away from themselves as possible. They are the worldwide equivalent of the nouveau riche trailer trash who think nothing of dumping their crap in public places and be dammed to what anyone else thinks or feels.

"We don't own the fucking world, we are the trustees and guardians of this planet for future generations" - Bill Hicks

[RANT OVER]
 

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Dude,

I'm with you and Hicks, I think you may have mistaken my point. I don't want these damned ships here; the US should take care of its own shit and clean it up - the threat, once in Teeside, is minimal, it's the eco-damge the ruddy things would cause in the event that they sank (less so in deep-water, i.e. mid-Atlantic) in the English Channel or North Sea that worries me. Should any of them sink, some of the stuff currently onboard or in the make-up/fabric of these vessels would deteriorate and get into the food-chain - where's yer cod-n-chips when that happens? Well and truly buggered, sans lube!

All hail Hicks! Sadly missed by a grateful public. Where are you now your country needs you! RIP.
 

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This is only the first four to be sent across. There is a "massive"(when I say "massive" I mean really fu**ing huge) shipyard/breakers yard full of them in Virginia. On the quick scroll I saw on the telly report there is easily another 20+ of them.
Quite agree though. Stip the oil and other pollutants out of them and sink the things in the Clyde or the Sound of Mull.

Peter
 

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Send the shit back to them.  Its their crap let them sort it we are still picking up all the crap they leave wherever they go..
 

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Result !!!!

Just heard on the BBC that the High Court has upheld a ban on the ships (or certain of them at least) entering UK Waters or being cut up (disassembled) in UK yards! Oh Happy Days!
 

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The big point here is PCB's.  The main damaging ones are liquids - hard to control and to dispose of.  These ships do not contain liquid PCB's, but solid ones - in the form of plastics and rubber seals etc.
 

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So what's PCB's then? I thought they were the wee green board things inside computers!

Peter
 

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[b said:
Quote[/b] (peter k @ Nov. 04 2003,23:47)]So what's PCB's then? I thought they were the wee green board things inside computers!

Peter
The PCBs in computers are Printed Circuit Boards.
The PCBs in plastics etc. are PolyChlorinated Biphenyls. Follow this link for a  PCB Environmental Impact  summary. To summarise the summary, be somewhere else.
 

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Hi Guys,

There are some 1800 Hartlepool jobs at stake over this issue, which is a lot of unemployment if the deal breaks down. The pollutants on board are of no real risk and can be found on most ships, according to those who know.
As for sinking and causing major problems in the sea or ocean if they sink, what happened to all the billions tons of oil, petrol and chemicals that sank during two world wars? Many of you guys are diving on the wrecks now and never even give them a second thought. Funny thing nature !!


Cheers Ron
 

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The Royal Oak leaks oil, the James Barrie leaks oil (all over my bloody drysuit cos someone pinched the brass taps off the tanks)  there are thousands of tonnes of radioactive waste in the Irish sea, mercury is leached into the rivers of south america from the gold mining trade, we discharge millions of gallons of untreated sewerage into the north sea every year.  

Ron is right.  

There are no real dangerous pollutants on board these ships, not on the global scale of things anyway.  This is a bunch of NIMBY's (not in my back yard) kicking up a stink when they dont know the facts.
 

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I also have to agree with Ron and Porg here.

Through  necessity, we have become quite proficcient at recycling waste material safely and have spent billions researching and developing new and better ways of dealing with the by products.  This type of investment is surely entitled to some return, possibly by way of international contracts to dispose of unwanted ships.

At the end of the day, the US are willing to pay a UK company a considerable sum of money to carry out  the work and given the publicity that this topic has, and will continue to receive, it is hardly likely that the HSE are going to turn a blind eye to the uncontrolled disposal of any hazzardous waste.

Of course, we could allways insist that these ships are sent on to the ship 'greveyards' of India and the far east where they are marooned on a beach, stripped of anything valuble before being left to rot and leach wastes into the oceans by virtue of the fact that there are no controls over these types of operation as we have in the U.K.

I'll get of me soap box now then.
 

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THe issue is one of the work being done in a suitable dry dock and apparently the planning permissions weren't dealt with appropriately, other than that it's probably being blown out of proportion - this crap is everywhere in the ecosystems of the world, high levels of PCBs have been assayed in the Antarctic Krill FFS!
 

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Just as a moot point. The wrecks that went down during, or before, the first world war(i.e. Scapa) won't leak a great deal of oil as they were coal fired. There will be a nominal amount in them for lubrication, etc, but the actual fuel was coal and not oil.

Peter
PS-Thanks Rupert Bear! See you have taught me something.
 

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<font color='#FF0000'>At the end of the day who dose or dose not carry out this contract is imiterial. What is of utmost importance is that the job is done properly, with as much if not all the materials salvaged going to recycling and what cannot be recycled disposed of corectly.
But cirtainly not left to litter some 3rd world contry's coastline for the sake of saving a few buck's.
 

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I agree with Louigi here, they need to be dismantled or at least decontaminated by competent staff in a properly equipped yard.

In contrast to this, consider the following, from today's guardian.

"Two years ago, Royal Fleet Auxillary Tankers Olna and Olwen were sold by the royal Navy to a Turkish yard to be scrapped. Importing ships containing Asbestos is illegal in Turkey, so the ships were sold on and sailed to India where they were beached (!!!) and broken up by workers without access to protective clothing or face masks."

Apparently the Navy is accepting tenders from Turkish shipyards for HMS Intrepid, so no prizes for guessing where she's likely to end up.

Don't get me wrong - these Yank ships should have already been decontaminated and broken up safely - in the USA. Just as our ships should be broken up here.

God know's why Northeast shipyards are begging floating catastrophes from half way around the world when we've got plenty here.
 

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might as well let them get on with the job, after all if you have a ride down the A66 and see all the filth ici et all are spewing out this pales into insignificance
 

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[b said:
Quote[/b] (Ron Young @ Nov. 09 2003,17:05)]The pollutants on board are of no real risk and can be found on most ships, according to those who know.
It depends on just what is on the ships whether the scrapping is safe or not, without knowing the exact amounts nobody can know for certain.
It is safer to err on the side of caution with any pollutants as perceptions of the risk change with more knowledge and as time goes by.
 I know that there are certain areas of Glasgow contaminated with cadnium and lead from industry in the relatively recent past which wouldn't be classed as safe now. maybe that is where the neds came from?

 The question I always ask myself in situations like this is- " would I be happy with this being done on my doorstep?" i am not sure what the disposal, quantities and safety of the PCB's are but I do know about asbestos. I wouldn't want that anywhere near me in any quantities as the recommended methods of disposal and testing are a joke.
 

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<font color='#FF0000'>I can understand the fears of people regarding the large quantities of asbestos, on board thease ships especialy as I have lost so many work mates to this noxious substance, but at least some kind of regulation for the removal and desposal is in operation in this country.
Is it not better that we who have at least some regulation do the work. Than it is left to some poor impoverished person with little or no knowledge of the product to suffer the agonies of removing it from the ship and no doubt it being left to blow across the four corners of the world unchecked.  
 
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