In 2013, when the former Atlantic Star, renamed Antic, leaves Marseille for demolition at Alang without asbestos removal, silence reigns.
In 2006, when the former Clemenceau, renamed hull Q790, went to Alang for demolition after a partial asbestos removal in France, a politically correct, unanimous roar rang out.
The Atlantic Star is a 240m-long ship built in 1984 in the shipyards of La Seyne-sur-Mer in France, an asbestos stronghold. It was abandoned in Marseille in 2010. The Atlantic Star belonged to the Spanish subsidiary of the Royal Caribbean Cruise Line (RCCL).
To support and facilitate RCCL’s recent order of a new mega cruise ship from the shipyards of Saint-Nazaire, STX France – 33.34% of which is owned by the French state – agreed to “take back” the previously-condemned Atlantic Star. The ship was then sold to a subsidiary of STX Europe, STX France’s parent company.
The filiation of the Atlantic Star, flag Malta, has been European since its construction and remains so until its last port State. France assumes a special responsibility in the management of this ship, which was traded in to STX France by RCCL.
The Antic is now being towed through the Mediterranean to the beaches of Alang, where it will be demolished without precaution for workers or for the environment. Neither mapping of waste nor any asbestos removal will occur. According to standards set by the Clemenceau, the law prohibits the exportation of hazardous wastes on board ships in a country that does not belong to the OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development). The sale of the former Atlantic Star to the Alang yards will bring in about $8 million to STX Europe.
This sale summarizes the maritime fiasco in the European Union.
Just as SeaFrance Cezanne and SeaFrance Renoir whose export in autumn 2011 for demolition at Alang in India is now the subject of a preliminary investigation at the request of the Parquet de Paris, the former Atlantic Star is likely to be caught in the net of Justice.