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'Toxic' ship dismantled in Bangladesh despite court ban

Up to 130 large ships are dismantled each year on beaches at Sitakundu, home to the world's largest ship breaking yards.
by Staff Writers
Chittagong, Bangladesh (AFP) Oct 22, 2008
A ship described by Greenpeace as "hazardous" is being dismantled off the coast of Bangladesh despite a court order banning it from the country's shores, its owner said Wednesday.

The fate of the MT Enterprise, previously called New Atlantia, has been in question since August when the government banned it.

The ban was overturned in September after a government inspection failed to find excessive hazardous materials, but a week later the high court upheld the earlier decision.

Nazim Uddin, owner of the ship breaking firm that owns the vessel, told AFP he did not believe he was defying a ban because he had not officially been informed of the high court decision.

"So far 50 percent of the ship has been scrapped after we beached it following the inspection in September," he said.

The tanker is at Sitakundu, on the country's southeastern coast.

Syeda Rizwana, head of the Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers' Association (BELA), told AFP her organisation had filed a contempt of court case against the ship's owner.

"We're astonished as to how a ship like this can be dismantled when a court has banned it," she said. "We do not believe that half of the ship has been dismantled as it takes longer than a month to do so."

BELA was behind the petition to the high court seeking the ban.

Up to 130 large ships are dismantled each year on beaches at Sitakundu, home to the world's largest ship breaking yards.

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