BBC Shanghai, a radioactive risk for Asia

12 Sep 2017

Oct. 14, 2015, BBC Shanghai in Cherbourg (France). © Robin des Bois

December 5, 2015 – Port Kembla (Australia). © Robert Peet – The Age

October 2015. The BBC Shanghai, owned by Germany-based Briese Schiffahrts GmbH & Co KG, is making the headlines of the world’s maritime shipping news. She has been selected by the French nuclear operator AREVA to ship to Australia radioactive waste reprocessed in Normandy at the La Hague plant. However, the ship had a bad record regarding technical deficiencies as attested by the maritime authorities of all continents; she had been detained three times in Bilbao (Spain), Gladstone (Australia) and in March 2015 in Honolulu (Hawaii, United States). The international mobilization to demand the chartering of a safe ship will do nothing about it, the BBC Shanghai loads 25 tons of radioactive waste and leaves Cherbourg (France) on October 15 for Port Kembla near Sydney. Indonesia has denied her access to its waters. She arrived at Port Kembla on December 5 after a 25,000 km trip.

March 2017. The BBC Shanghai leaves Durban, South Africa, bound for Lagos, Nigeria. The day after her departure, she suffers a propulsion failure. The crew attempt to repair the vessel in vain. The ship goes adrift and gets as close as 30 km from the South African coast. 56 hours after the breakdown, the tugs take her under control and secure her 3 km offshore in the waiting area of the port of East London in the Eastern Cape Province. The South African authorities are aware of the ship’s history; mistrust is high, especially since the exact nature of the cargo is unclear. After inspection and payment of a guarantee of several million US dollars, the BBC Shanghai is allowed to dock. She will never be repaired.

September 2017. The BBC Shanghai is announced to be broken up by two specialized brokers. The classification society Det Norske Veritas/Germanischer Lloyd confirms the “sale for recycling”. The final destination of the vessel is not known, nor is her selling price. Robin des Bois fears a towing to India, Pakistan or Bangladesh and the risk of radioactive contamination of workers and beaches. Moreover, there is a risk of radioactive contamination for all recycled goods made from irradiated metals. Prior to any dismantling operation Robin des Bois requests that the BBC Shanghai be subjected to a radiological diagnosis at the expense of the German shipowner Briese Schiffahrts GmbH & Co KG. The best would be to scrap the BBC Shanghai in one European facility as the European Shearwater, Pacific Sandpiper, Atlantic Osprey and Sigyn. All of them have been decontaminated before dismantlement in European shipbreaking yards in the Netherlands, Belgium, the United Kingdom and Sweden.

BBC Shanghai (ex-Island Trader, ex-BBC Shanghai, ex-TLI Aquila, ex-BBC Shanghai, ex-Baltic Sea). IMO 9224623. General cargo. Length 101 m, 2,808 t. Antigua & Barbuda flag. Classification society Det Norske Veritas/Germanischer Lloyd. Built in 2001 in Tianjin (China) by Tianjin Xingang. Owned by Briese Schiffahrts GmbH & Co KG (Germany). Detained in 2010 in Bilbao (Spain), in 2014 in Gladstone (Australia) and in March 2015 in Honolulu (Hawaii, United States).

See also about BBC Shanghai :
Radioactive waste – Robin des Bois (Robin Hood) is calling for an intervention by the Australian and French governments, October 10, 2015
Radioactive waste – Cherbourg/Australia, October 14, 2015
Das Bato, map of the detentions and deficiencies of BBC Shanghai, October 15, 2015
Wanted : BBC Shanghai, December 8, 2015





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