August 26, 2009
Ex-MSC ship on way to Bangla breaker?
The Basel Action Network, which has long campaigned on the "toxic ships" issue today wrote the U.S. EPA asking it to prevent two former MSC Maritime Prepositioning Ships, now named the Bonny and the Anders, from leaving Norfolk.
The plea looks to have been in vain.
As of 10.00 PM EDT, marinetraffic.com, which tracks ships' AIS positions showed the Bonny to still be in Norfolk, but the Anders appeared to already be underway,
Recently reflagged to St Vincent and the Grenadines, the two were previously the MV 1ST LT Alex Bonnyman (AK-3003) and the MV PFC James Anderson Jr. (AK-3002) they were built by Odense Staalskibsvaerft A/S, Lindo, Denmark, in 1979 as the MV Emilie Maersk and Emma Maersk respectively. They were acquired by the Navy under long term charters in 1984 and operated for MSC by Maersk Line Ltd. When the charters expired, the owner, Wilmington Trust, disposed of them.
The owner is now Star Maritime Corporation, which wrote the U.S. Maritime Administration and EPA on August 24 asserting that it intents to operate the vessels in the cargo trade and that "rumors" that it intends to scrap the pair are "unfounded. (READ LETTER).
Those reassurances weren't enough for Jim Puckett, Executive Director, Basel Action Network, who demanded the EPA act today to halt the export of the ships until such time as tests are conducted to determine whether they contain regulatory levels of PCBs which would be a violation of the Toxics Substances Control Act.
In his letter, Mr. Puckett said the ships the were scheduled to sail from Norfolk today and tomorrow and would sail without an EPA order requiring prior testing.
In addition to a rather lengthy discussion of why BAN thinks the ships are likely to contain PCBs, Mr. Puckett sheds some light on the new owner.
He says that Star Maritime should not be confused with Star Maritime Acquisitions Corp. or Star Bulk Carriers. He describes it as "a mailbox company that was set up in Delaware in 2007" and notes that its letterhead '"lists as coordinates the Delaware registered agent for the company, required by law, if the company does not have a physical address in Delaware, and it lists a U.K. address of United Eastern Trading with the email of email@example.com "
"Further," writes Mr. Puckett, "the letter is signed by Suryakant Pai (for Star Maritime). Suryakant Pai is the chief financial officer of the famous ship scrapping cash buyer Mohammed Tahir Lakhani, the owner and CEO of United Eastern and the director of the Dubai Trading Agency."