July 1, 2008
Able UK to dismantle ex-Clemenceau
The French Ministry of Defense announced yesterday that it had awarded the contract for the dismantling of the former aircraft Clemenceau carrier to Able UK Ltd., Teeside, England.
The ex-Clemenceau is the "toxic ship" forced to return to France in early 2006 when protests by Greenpeace thwarted plans to scrap it in Alang, India.
Able UK is the company in late 2003 won a controversial Marad contract to recycle up to 13 "ghost ships" from the James River Reserve Fleet. Though four of the ships arrived at Able UKs TERRC (Teesside Environmental Reclamation and Recycling Center) at Seaton Port, Graythorp, the company was unable to start work on them due to bureaucratic delays as environmental activists fought its plans.
In May last year, Marad renegotiated its contract and Able UK lost nine of the "ghost ships" involved.
Since then, the four Marad ships have remained at Graythorp, stuck in a bureaucratic limbo.
Last week, though, the U.K. Environment Agency finally issued the Able UK's Waste Management License.
Mr Peter Stephenson, Chairman of Able UK, said the decision marked the culmination of almost five years of hard --and at times frustrating-- effort. "It means that we can at last start work--creating jobs and expanding the local skills base in the process," he said.
Among the vessels that will now be dismantled, he said, are the four Marad ships and three U.K. ships that have also been moored at the facility.
Able UK says that TERRC is now set to be a world-leader in ship reclamation alongside a wide range of marine-related and renewable energy projects.
Yesterday, came news of the contract to recycle the former Clemenceau--now known as the Q790. It is expected to arrive on Teesside later this summer. The vessel is 238 m long with a beam of 31.7 m.
Said Mr Stephenson: "We have always reasoned that, given the opportunity, TERRC would lead the way in recycling ships to the highest possible environmental standards, this has been underlined with the decision by the French authorities that we should undertake the work on the Clemenceau which will be the biggest ship recycling project so far handled by any European yard.
"With the largest dry dock in the world, we can easily undertake the work on the Clemenceau and other vessels at TERRC whilst continuing with other projects, such as the assembly work for the SeaDragon semisubmersible drilling rig project and construction of wind turbines. Since gaining planning approval last November, we have moved rapidly ahead with developing the facility--for instance our two new deep water quays 10 & 11, which are 312 m long providing up to 20m of water, will be complete this year."