Job of recycling French toxic ship finds candidate

A subsidiary of French water and energy giant Suez has offered its services to the French government to decontaminate and dismantle the asbestos-laden Clemenceau warship, the company's chief executive told the French press on Tuesday.

The controversial vessel was sent to India to for recycling, only to be ordered back to France after protests erupted against its toxic legacy being dumped abroad, and raising wider concerns about the dumping of aging ships on developing countries (see related story).

Dealing with the Clemenceau will involve not only recycling 30,000 tonnes of waste metal that the ship is estimated to represent, but also disposing of an estimated 220 tonnes of asbestos. Suez subsidiary Sita France has declared itself ready to rise to this challenge, having already dealt with the first batch of asbestos from the Clemenceau.

Paul Dauvin, chief executive of Sita France, told La Tribune newspaper: “This [ship-breaking] market will be important in Great Britain and in France, where more than 100 ships must be disposed of in the next three years.”

He said that it is “difficult to estimate the budget without a detailed analysis of the vessel.” Two months ago the French ministry of defence had said the investment would have to exceed 45m euros.

The Clemenceau is expected to arrive in Brest on the French coast at the end of May.

Goska Romanowicz

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