Margaret Hill to head for China scrapyard
Controversial LNG carrier Margaret Hill will shortly head to China for demolition.
The vessel was earlier sold to a cash buyer, though the initial indication was that it would go to India for dismantling. Where the ship ultimately ends its days is likely to remain uncertain until it actually arrives at a demolition facility.
The vessel has recently been renamed Chill and reflagged to the Comoros Island registry, a routine move for vessels sold for demolition. The ship is still at anchor off Dubai, where it has been since January, following a voyage from Southampton.
Dismantling the ship in China might go some way to meeting concerns about the disposal of toxic waste onboard. The facilities in China offer green demolition services and internationally acceptable methods of handling of hazardous waste from ships being scrapped.
It is doubtful whether this latest move will completely counter accusations that the UK Environment Agency was misled when it allowed the ship to leave Southampton last year, having received assurances that the vessel was to be converted and not scrapped.
Selling it for demolition contravenes international regulations that vessels containing hazardous materials should be broken up in authorised facilities in developed countries and not dumped in developing countries that do not handle hazardous waste satisfactorily.
The European Union is understood to have instituted an investigation into the circumstances of the ship leaving European waters.
The ship"s owner prior to sale for demolition, US-based Fortress Credit, would not comment on any transaction involving the vessel.
A further scrapping controversy involves three 1990s-built, single-hull VLCCs owned by Kuwait Oil Tanker Co, and sold to cash buyers for demolition in the Indian sub-continent.
The US-based campaign group Basel Action Network has called on the Kuwait government to prevent the ships being exported to be broken up on beaches as it would contravene the Basel Convention.
According to BAN, the vessels are suspected of containing high levels of polychlorinated biphenyls , asbestos and other hazardous waste.
The three ships, Al Awdah, Al Tahreer and Al Shuhadaa, are idle in the Middle East Gulf.