Like a ghost from the past, the famed ocean liner SS Norway now lies at anchor just off the southwest coast of India pending determination whether 900 tons of asbestos used as a fire retardant throughout the ship can be disposed of safely, so the ship can be dismantled.
Earlier thus year the ship’s owner Malaysia based “Star Cruises” decided to sell the ship to scrappers, as it was no longer profitably to run the cruise ship. Thus the ship was towed from Malaysia towards the Indian Scrap-hub in Alang, but before reaching its destination, the ship was stopped by the Supreme Court of India.
The court had received petitions from among others Greenpeace saying that the scrapper that brought the ship wasn’t good enough to dismantle it safely, therefore the ship remains in Pipavav Port about 40 miles south of Alang until a safety review, ordered by the Supreme Court, is completed.
Rajiv Reniwal, owner of Haryana Ship Demolition Company, which has purchased the ship, said that if the safety clearance is granted, the ship will be taken to the Alang to be beached and then dismantled.
Contains toxic materials
Greenpeace and other environmental groups have fought to get the Indian courts to ban the ship on grounds it contains toxic materials local shipyards are not equipped to handle.
The Indian Supreme Court in early June permitted “safe anchorage” of the vessel so the ship could be properly examined by a special technical committee, but directed that it not be beached or cut at Alang pending a further court order.
The experts of the Gujarat Pollution Control Board are expected to report on their assessment of the scrapper’s ability to safely remove and dispose of the asbestos by the end of next week.
Earlier this year, the French aircraft carrier Clemenceau – reportedly containing similar hazardous substances – was bound for dismantling in Alang, but was recalled by the French government after the Indian Supreme Court refused it entry.
Also read: SS Norway Sets Sail On Final Journey – To Scrapyard