Another way of looking at the Clémenceau

30 Dec 2005

The “Marine Nationale” French Navy is the first European ship owner to have started an asbestos cleaning process prior to the ship being scrapped. In 2005 in Europe dozens of ships, tankers, liners, chemical cargo boats left Europe to be dismantled in Asia and in Turkey without any prior treatment.
The work which was carried out on the Clémenceau represents the first step towards better working conditions for shipbreaking. At the end of her working life the Clémenceau contained about 1.000 tons of asbestos. Today she still holds about 100 tons. The asbestos was disposed of in officially licensed waste disposal sites.
In Europe today there is no shipbreaking yard or at least a grounding beach available to dismantle large ships. The only work site in Europe which claims to have the capacity and to be equipped is the British Port, Hartlepool. The old US Navy freight ships bound for scrapping towed to this site provoked an uproar from the environmentalists. Notwithstanding these positions, Robin des Bois has since seen a hope for ships at the end of their life. In Amsterdam an experimental work site for the dismantling of medium sized ships is being tested. France has done nothing.
The asbestos pre-cleaning process of the Clémenceau is positive. It is essential not to underestimate its importance, on the contrary, we have to stress that all the European ship owners should do the like wise.
There is nowhere available in France to completely dismantle nor to thoroughly clean the Clémenceau, in the short term.
If there is no solution found to recycle the Clémenceau, it might be sunk in the Mediterranean Sea for military purposes. This is the worst case scenario, which some nostalgics might dream of.


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