MARAD allows export of nine more ghost ships to the UK

Following an American court ruling, the American maritime administration (Marad) is now to be allowed to export a further nine obsolete naval vessels to the UK for dismantling.

Following the controversial Ghost Ships saga at the end of 2003, Earthjustice, on behalf of the Basel Action Network (BAN) and Sierra Club, filed suit in DC Federal District Court to stop the US Maritime Administration from sending 13 toxic naval vessels from the James River in Virginia across the Atlantic Ocean to Teesside, England, for scrapping.

The export of these ships was to be the precursor to a larger project to export many more obsolete US vessels to developing countries where standards to protect workers and the environment from the toxic materials onboard are nearly non-existent.

However, an American court ruling has now cleared the way for further exports to be dismantled abroad by dismissing the latest challenge on technical grounds.

This has been welcomed by British ship recycling firm Able UK, who has recently applied for a new waste management licence and discharge consent for its Teesside Reclamation and Recycling Centre, (TERRC) facility. Able UK is hoping to carry out a range of activities including dismantling, reclaiming and recycling offshore structures and ships.

Following challenges made to the licensing position of Able UK back in 2003, Environment Agency licensing officers will now check that the company has provided sufficient information for a decision to be made on the application and undertake a period of consultation. The Environment Agency and Hartlepool Borough Council are intending to arrange a series of local drop in surgeries for the public to be held in the next month and for copies of the application to be made available, which will be publicised as soon as the details are confirmed.

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