French Toxic Ship Returns Home

french toxic ship returns home

According to a BBC report, The ageing French warship Clemenceau is due to arrive back home in the French naval port of Brest.

The French government was forced to recall the asbestos-ridden aircraft-carrier on her journey to a wrecking yard in Gujarat in India.

Environmental groups and Indian trade unions forced the decommissioned aircraft carrier back to France.

Tests are now planned to find out exactly how much asbestos is left on board and how France can deal with it.

The vessel formerly known as the Clemenceau is back in France again – under the slightly less catchy name of Q790, as she has been known since she was decommissioned. But even a change of name is not enough to disguise the embarrassment for the French government as this one-time symbol of French military might limps back home.

She has proved to be one long toxic headache for France since being taken out of service in 1997.

The warship was sold to a Spanish firm, which should have taken out any hazardous asbestos waste before breaking up the vessel. But the company discovered that could not be done within the EU because of health and safety laws. The Clemenceau then headed for Turkey for dismantling – but had to be brought back. Then, a German firm took up the challenge and sent her to India for decontamination late last year. But disaster struck once again – with the journey turning to farce as Egypt stopped the ship after doubts over her safety. Finally, the Indian Supreme Court asked why Indian workers should deal with a vessel deemed too dangerous for Europeans to touch. So President Chirac was forced to agree that the Clemenceau would return to France until a solution could be found.

On the other hand, Pakistan regularly dismantles vessels with toxic material on-board. Most recently, an asbestos-riddled British warship was dismantled at the Gadani shipyard in Balochistan.


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