Turkey Assures Nae Sao Paulo Vessel Loaded With Asbestos Poses No Environmental Risks

A Turkish firm won the tender for dismantling the Nae Sao Paulo in 2021. The ship arrived later in 2022 at Aliağa, a shipyard in Izmir’s western province. Izmir is popular for its famous ship dismantling business. However, some environmental institutions, along with Izmir’s mayor, opposed the dismantling, highlighting health and environmental hazards. Allegations on social media claim that the vessel is loaded with 900 tons of asbestos.

Via a written statement shared on Monday, Minister of Environment, Urban Planning and Climate Change Murat Kurum reported that the vessel was loaded with only about 9.6 tons of asbestos and not 900 and that asbestos wastes from ship dismantling in Turkey is subject to regulations.

Image for representation purpose only

He added that it is adequately packaged, tagged, and does not establish any contact with air. Asbestos waste is stored temporarily before disposal at ministry-licensed facilities. It is stored separately before disposal.

Kurum cited a similar situation in 2013, stating that yet another vessel loaded with asbestos was dismantled with the wastes disposed of without any hassle or problems. The minister further added that inspections of the ship before the dismantling were done by international institutions following international laws to assess probable health and environmental risks. The examination did not find risks.

Kurum also said that the vessel would go through another round of inspection by experts with international authority once it reached the Turkish territorial waters. If risks are found, the ship is going to be sent back.

Sök Denizcilik, the firm that is supposed to dismantle the vessel, mentioned in a statement that only firms that the European Environment Agency approves of EU were able to participate in the tender. It said that the asbestos rate was determined by independent auditing firms that hold international licenses.

References: Daily Sabah, Hurriyet Daily News

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