Report on scrap ships in 3 weeks | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, January 27, 2010 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, January 27, 2010

Report on scrap ships in 3 weeks

HC asks govt

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The High Court yesterday directed the government to submit a report within three weeks on the number of ships imported for scrapping after the HC delivered a verdict in this regard on March 17 last year.
The court also asked the government to state in the report how pre-cleaning of these ships outside the territory of Bangladesh was ensured before bringing them to the country.
The HC bench of Justice Md Imman Ali and Justice Md Abu Tariq directed the authorities to finalise the framing of rules for ship breaking and prepare a gazette notification within three months.
The government was also asked to draft the terms of reference for a high-powered committee in a way so that the committee can review the rules, monitor implementation of those and do necessary stock taking.
The bench expressed disappointment over the lack of government initiative to regulate the industry and ensure labour and environment protection therein.
The court fixed February 18 for further orders on the issue.
The directions came following an application by Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers' Association (Bela), which stated that the Department of Shipping has been arbitrarily continuing to authorise import of ships containing hazardous materials.
The Department of Shipping also did not involve the Department of Environment in the process as required by the HC, Bela said.
The HC had directed the Department of Shipping to ensure that no ships are imported without pre-cleaning outside the territory of Bangladesh and without clearance from the Department of Environment.
Bela alleged that arbitrary support for the industry from the government and lack of monitoring by the labour department has caused the death of at least 23 workers and made 44 disabled in 2009 alone.
On March 17 last year, the HC in a verdict directed the government to close operation of all ship-breaking yards without environmental clearance.
It also directed the environment ministry to frame within three months necessary rules on ship-breaking relying on the obligations of Bangladesh under the Basel Convention 1989, the Environment Conservation Act 1995, and the Environment Conservation Rules 1997.
Later, upon a petition filed by Bangladesh Ship Breakers' Association on March 24, the Supreme Court stayed the HC verdict on closing operation of ship-breaking yards without environmental clearance.
Other parts of the verdict, which are in force, are being violated by ship breakers and the government.
An appeal against the HC verdict is pending with the apex court at present.

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