|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
APRIL 14, 2005
Patrizia Cuonzo patrizia.cuonzo at int.greenpeace.org
European Union Must Guarantee Clean Ship Breaking to Prevent Environmental Catastrophe In Asia
AMSTERDAM, VALETTA -- April 14 -- A week after the global ban on single hull oil tankers there are still such ships that operate outside the law on seas worldwide. As a matter of fact, nobody knows how many of these should be out of waters as of 5th April 2005 - neither the industry, nor the authorities (1). Most of these so-called 'end-of-life ships' will be heading to Asia and Turkey to be scrapped, causing human and environmental catastrophe. Greenpeace is calling on the European Union to end the lack of transparency in shipping and to develop a definitive and consolidated list of single-hull oil tankers that are subject to the phase-out regulations.
"The European Union pushed for the phase-out but 'forgot' to provide measures for ensuring safe and clean breaking of these ships," said Marietta Harjono of Greenpeace. "There's a need for immediate commitment from EU transport ministers and the European Commission that the toxic burden of Europe's single-hull oil tankers will not end up on Asian beaches."
Greenpeace research (2) shows that the burden of 'toxic ships' dumped on Asian beaches will increase in the coming years. The phase out entered into force on 5 April, with more than 2,000 oil tankers now slated to be decommissioned over the next five years (3). Within Europe Malta is the leading country with over 80 single hull oil tankers either owned or flagged there.
Activists of the international environmental organisation today called on the Maltese Government to guarantee the clean decommissioning of single hulled oil tankers and to bring the issue onto the agenda of 21 April meeting of the European Union Transport Council. The activists hung a banner on top of the gate of the Maltese Ministry for
Greenpeace demands that the Maltese government and other EU member states act to solve this problem and end the "out-of-sight, out-of-mind" approach to European shipbreaking. In a meeting last week with Greenpeace, the Minister for Trade and Industry of Gibraltar promised to immediately investigate implementing stricter control on single hulls oil tankers and promised to cooperate to prevent the illegal export of these tankers to Asia for breaking.
"The ministers of the European Union now have the opportunity to bring the scandal of shipbreaking under control and put a stop to dangerous exports of toxic tankers to Asia - for once and for all" finished Harjono.
Notes to editors