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Poland rejects Rotterdam
*Polish authorities have ordered a former transatlantic cruise liner reportedly containing 100 tonnes of a carcinogenic substance which hasbeen docked at Gdansk for five months to leave the country’s territorial waters.*
The Rotterdam (built 1959), which last operated as the cruiseship Rembrandt for failed Premier Cruise Lines in 2000, has been moored at a repair yard in Gdansk since March where it was hoped the asbestos would be removed and treated.
The Rotterdam (built 1959) is to leave Polish waters.
But Poland’s maritime economy minister, Rafal Wiechecki, turned down an appeal from the vessel’s owner and ordered it to leave Polish waters, the country’s radio station Polskie Radio reported on Tuesday.
Wiechecki argued that the vessel’s owner, a Dutch non-profit organisation called De Rotterdam, failed to notify Polish authorities of the presence of the harmful substance onboard before the vessel reached Poland.
The owner of the Rotterdam will now have to tow the vessel from the yard failing which Polish authorities will undertake the removal at theowner’s expense.
Although Wiechecki left the door open for the vessel to return to Poland once the hazardous cargo has been dealt with, he also said thatauthorities should investigate the possible illegal employment of Polish personnel onboard the ship, the station reported.
The Rotterdam was sent to Poland to be converted into a conference centre and hotel to be docked in the Netherlands.
Its passage to Poland caused a furore amongst environmental campaign groups including Greenpeace who argued that the work of clearing the asbestos should be undertaken at a specialist facility.
At the time of the vessel’s removal to Gdansk a spokesman for the vessel’s owner said that the Polish yard had been chosen ahead of a Dutch facility as it had quoted a price 50% lower than the local competition.
Wherever the work onboard the Rotterdam is now to be undertaken, once the hazardous cargo is removed from the ship that waste must remain inthat country for treatment, according to regulations.
The ship was to have spent six months being restored in Poland before making a grand arrival back in its native country, the vessel’s ownerhoping it could have been opened to the public in Rotterdam towards the end of this year.
By _Eoin O'Cinneide <mailto:email@example.com>_ in London
[ 08-01-2006: Message edited by: Linerrich ]
It also shows why all these old ships had to be retired - there are many 'hidden' problems on these vessels - and it needs a lot of expierience and knowhow to properly plan and prepare for that. It seems as if the project to safe the Rotterdam - like most of these undertakings - has not been planned for the 'worst' but for the 'best' case. Many 'similar' restoration projects have a very tight budget and are not often not able to react to such 'surprises'.
Seeing what happens to the Rotterdam maybe helps to understand why many stepped back from trying to save the Norway - the costs for decontamination (mind you that she has been contaminated - other than the Rotterdam) might suddenly change for an order of mangitude if 'someone' (e.g. an authority) changes his mind - and then one is trapped owning a vessel and being responsible to pay an enourmouse amout for disposing it.
I nevertheless sincerely hope they can sort that out and that we will see the Rotterdam arriving in her homeport. It seems to be a long way still.
[ 08-01-2006: Message edited by: Ernst ]
Now the only thing they can do is wait till the last young swallow flies out, than go as a spear to international waters, transfer the waste to that other ship, named CELICA and NOT Selicca, have the ship thouroughly inspected and than go to the yard.Meanwhile they lost a bit of that 50% difference in price
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