Here is an email that I've received from Alex Naughton:
As you can see our North American branch of the "Save the Classic Liners" Campaign is doing excellent work raising the profile of the former SS Independence and her ongoing tow to possible breaking up in Alang, India. She is reported to be near Guam at the moment. She is in violation of USA and international laws.
The USA has the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976 or TSCA. Under it, PCB waste – including entire ships if they carry high-enough concentrations of PCBs – may not be exported overseas. That law applies to all federal agencies and the private sector, with the EPA as a key enforcer. Therefore if the EPA believes an owner "intends to export a ship for scrapping in violation of [TSCA]", it can take appropriate enforcement action including an inspection, to determine the presence of PCBs on the vessel. It has now done this in respect of the former SS Independence.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has issued a federal complaint against Global Shipping and Global Marketing Systems, Inc. for distribution in commerce and export of PCB-containing materials on the MV Oceanic, formerly the SS Independence, a ship being sent by Global to be scrapped overseas.
California Manufacturing Corporation (CMU), a sham subsidiary of NCL, reportedly no longer owns the ship but sold the vessel on July 26th, 2007. CMU claims there is a confidentiality document in place so they can not divulge the name of the buyer. Thus while the ship continues to fly a US flag, the last registered owner is CMU/NCL and the new owner is not registered and has intentionally not revealed itself. Under US law, if the ship was sold to a foreign entity, as is suspected, this exchange is illegal as the Maritime Administration did not approve the sale as is required. Further, importation of a toxic ship from the United States (a non-Party), for full or partial dismantling by a country that is a Party to the Basel Convention is a violation of the terms of the Basel Convention treaty.
See press releases below.
By the way the SS United States is likely to be next in line to illegally follow the SS Independence to scrapping in India. She has just been handed to the ownership of another sham subsidiary company of NCL. But under US law, if the ship was sold to a foreign entity, as is suspected, this exchange is illegal as the Maritime Administration did not approve the sale as is required. It is likely with the Big U that this will not have occured! So it will be flouting USA law.
Also it is still a US flagged ship and any change to that status must be approved by MARAD. The reason that US-flag ships like the United States exist at all is so the government can use them during wartime. In order to retain sufficient vessels for national-security reasons, MARAD has long been required to approve any sale to a foreign owner or the reregistering of a vessel to another nation.
However a disadvantage with stopping the United States is that in the 1990s it was totally cleared of all asbestos and PCBs when in Turkey. So the ship is clean. So there would be less of a legal basis to stop the United States being exported.
News has sure grown thin on the SS Independence, she was meant to be nearing Guam more than a month ago. With no sign of her since Hawaii where could she be? Surely the tug towing her would have had to stop to refuel by now.I thought the U.S. epa was on the case,they don't mention anything on their site.
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