Plan to scrap MARAD ships rejected
Plans by a shipbreaking company in the United Kingdom that wants to scrap four ships for the U.S. Maritime Administration have been scuttled by the local city council.
“Hartlepool Council has overwhelmingly rejected all four applications from Able UK relating to the development of its Graythorp site on the outskirts of Hartlepool,” said a statement posted on the city’s Web site after Thursday’s vote.
Four ships from the James River “ghost fleet” — the “Canopus,” “Compass Island,” “Caloosahatchee” and “Canisteo” — were towed to Able’s facility in 2003, but environmental concerns over asbestos and other hazardous materials on the ships prevented demolition from going forward.
Able UK’s chairman, Peter Stephenson, said in an interview on the BBC that he was disappointed in the rejection of the company’s plans, which he said had been approved by the city’s staff planners. He said his company planned to lodge an appeal.
The city said three planning applications and an application for hazardous substances consent were considered by the council’s Planning Committee and rejected.
“Councillors refused the main application on a number of grounds including concerns about the effect on the environment, tourism, people’s health and wildlife habitats,” the council said.
“The grounds for refusing the Hazardous Substances Consent included concerns about the possible detrimental effects on wildlife habitats and the cumulative effect of this and other waste disposal facilities on the well-being of the local community,” it added.
Able UK Ltd purchased the yard in 1996 with the intention of enlarging and refurbishing the dry dock as the main facility for the company’s operations of decommissioning marine structures and also as a multiuser facility for the construction of marine structures.
Able said that since taking over the Graythorp yard it has imported, remediated and disposed of marine structures for major clients such as ExxonMobil, NAM, Phillips Petroleum, Shell, TotalFinaElf and Westminster Dredging.
The company said there is a strong need for high quality ship recycling facilities in the United Kingdom and the rest of Europe.
Most shipbreaking today is done in Asia where health and safety regulations are few.
For more on the MarAd ship disposal program, see the September American Shipper, pages 14-17.