A Cargo Ship on the Beach

17 Dec 2011

In referring to Article R 304-11 of the Code of Maritime Ports (1), the Port Authority of the port of Lorient – Morbihan – could have proceeded with the postponement of the departure of the TK Bremen. In effect, this 30 year-old ship had reached the age of demolition. She presented numerous deficiencies. The absence of panels on the entire hold, as was demonstrated before by aerial photos – might be one more of them. The ship had been recently detained in a Russian port and its Turkish ship owner, proprietor of two older ships, did not immediately furnish all of the guarantees of reliability. The profile of the TK Bremen was such that those responsible for the security and of the traffic of the port of Lorient should have, in view of the imminent dangers about to confront them in a dangerous maritime environment rich in marine life, banned its departure.

If there was no referral to the Code of Maritime Ports, it is by lack of foresight or reticence to not ruin the ship owners’ well established image of the liberal port where regulations are observed at a minimum. This position is not restricted to just the port of Lorient.

Almost for the first time since the Grenelle de la Mer conference and the vibrant calls from unions, NGOs, elected representatives and political leaders, a ship demolition site will, without doubt, open in Brittany, at Erdeven, at the edge of the natural dune, a home to protected vegetable species and shellfish farms a few hundred yards away. This operation could involve numerous planned layouts, gathering and stockpiling of dangerous materials and the trafficking of materials. This operation could provoke a trampling over, and a disruption of, the beach area. It must at the same time guarantee to the workers a satisfying level of protection in relation to that of the asbestos, toxic waste, and all other physical risks observed in Asian worksites. In any event, the complete dismantlement of the TK Bremen on the beach of Erdeven could last around 6 months.
(1) Article R 304-11 of the Code of Maritime Ports:
The officers of the port, officers of the deputy port, surveyors of the port and auxiliaries of surveillance advise, by the quickest means, using the maritime authority charged to them, to ensure the control and security of all ships of which they are knowledgeable, in the exercise of their functions, giving thought to a ship, boat, or floating vehicle cannot go out to sea with danger to itself, its crew, the passengers, the security of the navigation, the health, or the environment.
The officers of the port, officers of the deputy port, and surveyors of the port can ban the departure of a ship, until the maritime authority has declared the ship, boat, or floating vehicle in the condition to take to the sea.


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