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Not a Ringing Endorsement

Jim Puckett, Middlesbrough Evening Gazette

Mar 7 2005. I was shocked that your paper would claim that the Basel Action Network (BAN), which is suing the US Government to prevent the export of ships to Able UK, is now "backing" the Able UK company (Ships U-turn). Wrong.The actual quote, in the Guardian, was: "There are yards in Europe, Hartlepool for instance, which would love to have the business..." That is hardly a ringing endorsement of Able UK.Everyone knows that Able UK would love to have business. Every company wants business.What the context of our quote does indicate, is that BAN, on behalf of its members in Hartlepool and elsewhere, demands adherence to international law and thus calls for European flagged or owned ships to be processed in Europe rather than exported to Asia.The Basel Convention calls for national self-sufficiency in hazardous waste management.In other words, the US should dismantle their own ships and the UK should dismantle their own ships.We do believe there is a substantial and worthy business in Europe's future in dismantling ships due, in large part, to the phase-out of single hulled tankers and the EU prohibition against exporting toxic waste outside of the EU.If Able UK wants to get into that business, I believe they will have to convince the public and authorities that they can be trusted and that this type of enterprise is suitable for the local environment in the long term.If it is not deemed to be so, Able UK must be willing to listen and propose moving such operations to a more suitable locale.In the meantime, I would point out that BAN is not in the business of endorsing individual companies.

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