Alang Bay under the radioactive threat of 3 European ships

11 Oct 2017

In close succession, Alang Bay, Gujarat State, India, and the workers have welcomed three discarded ships belonging to European ship owners and liable to present “hot spots” of radioactivity.

1- The BBC Shanghai, a general cargo ship. She has been carrying nuclear waste, notably between France and Australia (Cf. “BBC Shanghai, a radioactive risk for Asia”, september 12, 2017)

2- The Atlantic Cartier, built in 1985 in Dunkirk, France. She flies the Swedish flag. She is a Ro Ro container ship able in her initial profile to ship 2100 boxes and 600 cars. She was jumboized in 1987. She suffered a major fire in Hamburg, Germany, during the night of May 1st, 2013.


Incendie sur l’Atlantic Cartier, mai 2013. DR

Amidst a worrying cocktail of non compatible hazardous cargoes, the Atlantic Cartier was loaded with 20-ton empty uranium hexafluoride casks known under the code name 30.B. It has been said further by the BSU (Bundesstelle für Seeunfalluntersuchung – Federal Bureau of Maritime Casualty Investigation) that four uncleaned UF6 casks were aboard, totalling 10 kg of radioactive residues. This amount is inconsistent with the export notice ratified by the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission that was reporting 40 kg. The 20-feet container where the 4 dirty casks were stowed was on a trailer chassis inside the car deck together with 70 new cars. At least one dozen cars burnt. The radioactive container was withdrawn just in time. It was coming from the AREVA enrichment plant of Richmond, Washington State, USA.

The BSU is surprised to see that the manifest did not mention the four highly radioactive casks and requested the competent authorities to launch an inquiry regarding this matter.

The omission is giving rise to interrogation points that are not solved.

The Atlantic Cartier and her sisterships were regularly carrying radioactive materials linked with the uranium processing and in this regard called at Halifax, Liverpool, Hamburg and Le Havre in the European waters. In March 2014, during the unloading of the Atlantic Cartier, one box filled with four full 30.B casks fell 6 meters down. Casks are said to have supported the bump. Yet in1991, a similar incident has been reported aboard the Atlantic Conveyor at Halifax.

3- The Atlantic Conveyor, also to be broken up in Alang.

Uranium processing is delivering to the environment, men and materials, high level radiations.

Walls, bottom or decks of the Atlantic Cartier and Atlantic Conveyor may have been contaminated by a leakage even minor, a bad positioning or a roughly handling.

Gujarat State, before giving the green light to the scrappers would be well advised to require from the owner of the Atlantic Cartier and Atlantic Conveyor a “no radioactivity” certificate.

The owner of the two ships is the American Container Line based in the USA. Since 2007 ACL is a 100% owned subsidiary of the Italian company Grimaldi.





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