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Blue Lady won't be stripped till SC nod

Last updated on: December 04, 2006 21:20 IST

The Supreme Court on Monday restrained the dismantling of a Norwegian ship Blue Lady, anchored at Port Alang in Gujarat, containing over 1,250 tonnes of hazardous asbestos, without the prior permission of the court.

A bench, comprising Justices Arijit Pasayat and S H Kapadia, also directed the Union Environment Ministry to examine whether beaching of the ship was impermissible and to also find out if there was a scope for sending the vessel back after anchoring and beaching.

Adjourning the matter till the third week of March, 2007, along with the main matter, the court directed the Union government to examine the report of the technical experts committee within four weeks.

The court also wanted to know from the government as to what safety measures it proposed to take for protecting the workers who have to discharge the function of ship breaking.

According to the petitioner, the ship contains over 600 metric tonnes of PCB, a highly hazardous substance apart from the fact that the entry of the ship in India was itself illegal and its entry was in violation of the orders of the apex court.

The counsel for the petitioner non-profit organisation, Research Foundation for Science, also contended that the ship be sent back to International waters. However, according to the committee report, the ship cannot be sent back after beaching as the process was irreversible.

The court was also informed that one of the members of the committee, Thiagarajan has expressed his desire to quit the committee. The ship is still at a distance of 4,000 ft from the port. The ship was earlier sent back by Bangladesh from where it went to Dubai, and after having been denied entry there, it came back to India.