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WILL GHOST FLEET HAUNT BRITISH WATERS WAITING ON DRY DOCK DECISION? - BAKER

October 31, 2003 12:00 AM

Norman Baker MPPlans to dismantle the ghost fleet, currently en route to Teeside, have been blocked by the Environment Agency.

The decision was prompted when the agency discovered that relevant planning permission for dry docking facilities had not been secured.

Norman Baker MP, Liberal Democrat Shadow Environment Secretary is calling on the Department of Transport to clarify what will happen to the fleet in the short term.

"The Department for Transport should have ensured that dry dock facilities were available before the fleet started out on its journey.

"Because of this farce, will the ships now have to drop anchor in British waters and wait for the relevant permissions, or be sent straight back to the United States?

"It is grossly unacceptable to have old, decrepit vessels contaminated with PCBs, asbestos and fuel oil, waiting in stormy British waters for that decision.

"If they break up, the environmental impact could be devastating."