EU Regulations Invoked Against End-of-life German ship Northern Vitality


Shri A. P. Singh
Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI)
New Delhi

September 10, 2012

Subject-EU Regulations Invoked Against End-of-life German ship ‘Northern Vitality’


This is with reference to my letter to you dated September 7, 2012 about the German ship ‘Northern Vitality’ and the news report ‘Another ‘toxic’ ship sails towards Alang, raises eyebrows‘. I have just learnt from a Brussels based environmental group that the Northern Vitality is still in the German port of Wilhelmshaven. Its movement towards South Asian waters is on the cards.

I submit that Brussels based environmental group, NGO Platform on Shipbreaking has informed me that it invoked the European regulation on waste shipments for the German authorities to stop the movement of the ship towards South Asia waters. The ship has been purchased by US based company Global Marketing System (GMS). It is also learnt that the sister ship of Northern Vitality’, “Northern Dignity” is located in Singapore.

I submit that it may be recollected that in German authorities showed undue indulgence and maintained studied silence of apparent complicity in the case of dubious end-of-life ship SS Blue Lady (ex SS Norway, SS France of 1961) in the aftermath of a boiler explosion on May 25 , 2003 in Miami, Florida USA by August/September it was moved to Bremerhaven, Germany. Although German Embassy in India was alerted about the illegal export of the SS Blue Lady in May 2005, the ship was allowed to move out of German/ European waters as a systematic and deliberate violation of German, EU and International law on trans-boundary movement of hazardous waste. It entered Indian waters on fake SOS call due to inclement weather and got itself dismantled not on legal grounds but on fake technical ground of a beached ship’s inability to reverse and go back. This happened due to complicity of officials in US, Germany and India. This 315 meter long ship having 16 floors was sold at a price of 10 dollars.

Let me take the opportunity to place on record that the fact that US National Transportation Safety Board determined in its 55 page report that “the probable cause of the boiler rupture on the (SS) Norway [SS Blue Lady] was the deficient boiler operation, maintenance, and inspection practices” but the US authorities withheld the report. It was published only after the Indian Supreme Court’s order. The report revealed that it was clear in March 2004 itself that SS “Norway (SS Blue Lady) would not be returned to service and transferred ownership of the vessel to its parent company, Star Cruises, for eventual scrapping.” Had this information come to light before the Supreme Court order, the fate of the ship may have been different.

I submit that even in the case of end-of-life German ship ‘Northern Vitality’ there is a US connection in the sense that the cash buyer is of US origin.

I submit that the authenticity of documents of such ships which are entering Indian waters for disposal at Alang beach needs to be rigorously examined from the point of view of national security and environmental security concerns. It is reliably learnt that most of the foreign end-of-life ships currently in Indian waters are in possession of fake documents, a fact that got established in the case of Platinum II but a probe is yet to conducted to set matters right.

In view of the above, I submit that the law enforcement agencies ought to be alerted about the entry of such end-of-life ships in Indian waters.

There is a need to ensure that the US company GMS violates laws with impunity and German authorities do not condone violations by ‘Northern Vitality’ the way they did in the case of SS Blue Lady.

Thanking You

Yours faithfully

Gopal Krishna
ToxicsWatch Alliance (TWA)
New Delhi
PIN. 110016
Phone: +91-11-26517814, Fax: +91-11-26517814
Mb: 08002263335, 09818089660

Mr Michael Steiner, German Ambassador to India
Shri Anand Sharma, Union Minister of Commerce & Industry
Shri G K Vasan, Union Minister of Shipping
Shri A K Antony, Union Defence Minister
Shri Beni Prasad Verma, Union Minister of Steel
Smt Jayanthi Natrajan, Union Minister of Environment & Forests
Shri Jyotiraditya Madhavrao Scindia, Union Minister of State, Ministry of Commerce & Industry
Chairman & Members, Parliamentary Standing Committee on Science, Technology, Environment & Forests
Shri A K Seth, Cabinet Secretary, Government of India
Shri R K Singh, Secretary, Union Ministry of Home Affairs
Secretary, Union Ministry of Commerce & Industry
Secretary, Union Ministry of Shipping
Secretary, Union Ministry of Environment & Forests
Secretary, Union Ministry of Defence
Secretary, Union Ministry of Steel
Smt. Vijay Laxmi Joshi, Additional Secretary , Union Ministry of Commerce & Industry
Ms Meera Mehrishi, Additional Secretary, HSMD, Union Minister of Environment & Forests
Shri Madhusudan Prasad, Additional Secretary, Union Ministry of Commerce & Industry
Shri Rajeev Kher, Additional Secretary, Union Ministry of Commerce & Industry
Ms Anita Agnihotri, Additional Secretary, Union Ministry of Commerce & Industry
Shri Mukesh Bhatnagar, Additional DGFT, Union Ministry of Commerce & Industry
Dr. Satish B. Agnihotri  Director General of Shipping & Ex. Officio Additional Secretary to the Govt. of India
Chairman, Inter Ministerial Committee on Shipbreaking, Union Ministry of Steel
Shri S.S. Bajaj, Chairman, Atomic Energy Regulatory Board, Mumbai
Ms Aditi Das Rout, Director, Union Ministry of Commerce & Industry
Dr. Saroj, Director, HSMD, Union Minister of Environment & Forests
Dr. Manoranjan Hota, Director, HSMD, Union Minister of Environment & Forests
Dr Claude Alvares, Member, Supreme Court Monitoring Committee on Hazardous Wastes
Dr D B Boralkar, Member, Supreme Court Monitoring Committee on Hazardous Wastes
Shri Sanjay Parikh, Lawyer, Supreme Court
Miss Sunita Naraian, Director General, Centre for Science and Environment
Member Secretary, Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB)
Chairman, GPCB
Chairman, Gujarat Maritime Board
Shri S K Sharma, Atomic Energy Regulatory Board
Shri L S Singh, Union Ministry of Steel
ACB, Gandhinagar, CBI
Office of Commissioner, Customs, Ahmedabad

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