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Marine Log

May 30, 2007

Able UK loses "ghost ships"

Able UK, which in late 2003 won a controversial Marad contract to recycle up to 13 "ghost ships" from the James River Reserve Fleet, will no longer recycle nine of them.

Four of the ships arrived at the company's Graythorp facility on the River Tees, but Able UK has thus far been unable to start work on them.

It has been dogged by bureaucratic delays as environmentalists have continued to raise concerns.

Meantime, U.S. ship scrapping facilties have been less than happy with Marad's decision to export the work.

Now the contract has been renegotiated and Able UK will no longer recycle the nine of the vessels that remain in the U.S.

The BBC quotes Peter Stephenson, chairman of Able UK, as saying: "We are pleased that we have been able to agree with the United States Department of Transportation Maritime Administration that our contract for the recycling of the four vessels continues."

But, he said, "it isdisappointing that, after all the efforts of so many people, the opportunity to bring the additional work, which would have been generated through the other nine vessels, has been lost due to the delay."

Able UK is currently appealing a decision by the local Hartlepool council to reject planning applications to decommission the Marad vessels at the Graythorp yard.

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