Hunting down the Onyx (1)

4 Feb 2010

The Onyx is a car ferry which has 30 years of service in Scandinavia under her belt. She was considered as waste by Finland’s Environmental Authority, but as any waste is considered recoverable according to the doctrine of sustainable development she was bought by an Indian ship owner, Prayati Shipping PVT. This company initially claimed that the ex-Casino Express will be used to transport cars in the Middle East and in a second statement that she will undergo transformations in Turkey with the intention of keeping her in service.

The profile of this ship owner is shady. It is one of a locator of old hulls for demolishers. Their unique vessel is a bulk carrier built in 1976. The average age of bulk carriers sent to be scrapped is 31 years. This particular vessel the Rose S has not been in service since July 2009. On the same date, Prayati Shipping PVT based in Bombay, bought an old tanker renamed the President which was sold three months later to a Bangladeshi demolition shipyard (see #17.pdf p.8.) Their very last purchase was the Onyx which just after leaving Finland on her way to Asia suffered from an engine breakdown, the Onyx is currently in transit in Brest.

After saving her from sinking thanks to the intervention of the salvage ocean-going tug Abeille Bourbon, France is ready to let the Onyx go and send her at the perils of the sea with more than twenty sailors aboard. Finland after mumbling a few apologies has kept silent.

Robin des Bois’s position is the following: The Onyx should be permanently immobilized and with Finland’s contribution, her country of origin, she should be demolished in a shipyard in the near vicinity which is to say on the European Atlantic façade.

On January 22nd Robin des Bois wrote to a number of political leaders. Not even The Secretariat of State for Transport who has full responsibility on this subject has answered Robin des Bois’s request.

If the Onyx leaves in the near future from Brest towards the South, Robin des Bois will call its Turkish and Indian contacts, countries where demolition of this sort usually takes place, to insist on her former qualification as a waste by a European country, on the presence of asbestos and of other hazardous materials aboard. There is some hope even though it is slight that the Onyx be refused entry by these countries. France and Finland would then bare the responsibility of this ousted wreck of which the international community would want to be sent back to Europe.


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