The Supreme Court (SC) demanded an answer from the Federal Government on information and advice on whether the largest ocean liner SS Norway should be allowed to be dismantled at Gujarat’s Alang Ship breaking Yard within 15 days. The SC admitted a petition by an environmental activist seeking a judgment to stop the ship coming to India from Malaysia.
The petitioner said that SS Norway contains more than double the amount of asbestos that the French aircraft carrier Le Clemenceau contained and that it was refused permission to enter Bangladesh because of those reasons.
The arguments for and against ship breaking are no different from those during the times of
Le Clemenceau. The question is not whether the ship should be allowed into the country because of toxic matter on it. It is more whether India wants to be in this business or not as all old ships will have toxic matter on them.
If India wants to be in this business, then this becomes a legislative matter that needs to be resolved through an Act of the Parliament. If not, let it enacts an amendment in the Environment laws prohibiting the dismantling of any ship with a list of toxic materials.