Co-editors: Seán Mac Mathúna • John Heathcote
Consulting editor: Themistocles Hoetis
Field Correspondent: Allen Hougland


UK to become US Navy landfill site

' . . . a Greenpeace spokesman said: "This is the Bush environmental doctrine, the toxic Texan sticking two fingers up at the world, this time the Scots." '
(Sadly, we were beaten to the best headline for this article, which can be found



James River Environmental hazard


Toxic 'Ghost Fleet' to Cross English Channel

A Ghost Fleet of 13 rotting, toxic US warships, banned from the Third World by Bill Clinton, is to be towed from a now-polluted river in Virginia to be scrapped and buried in North East England.

The company who have the contract (Able UK) will receive a whole oil tanker for dismantling and dumping at least 70 ships around Teeside, rubbish that US authorities obviously do not want on their half-continent sized piece of land.

* Able UK signed a contract on 28 July 2003 worth £16 million with the US Marine Administration (Marad) to dismantle 13 obsolete warships in Hartlepool.

The 13 ships, at least 11,000 tons each of metal poisoned with cancer-causing PCB's and stuffed with asbestos, are being brought from the James River US Naval dump to Teesside next month.

Condemned as 'ticking time-bombs' by US transport officials, the hulks are being towed the 4000 miles across the Atlantic, through the narrow Pentland Firth between the mainland and Orkney, and down Scotland's east coast; to be delivered to a company called Able UK, who will take them apart and bury the waste in landfill sites near Hartlepool.

Seventy of the 94 warships, tankers, bulk carriers and tank transporters - which were part of the National Defense Reserve Fleet - have been officially condemned; and all are decaying, and causing widespread pollution, in James River, Virginia. Some have been there for over 40 years.

President Clinton (the last legitimate, ie. popularly elected, US president) had banned the export of the hulks to any Third World country, fearing that his zealous business-bureacracy military would offload the American garbage by bribing some craven, corrupt government of an impoverished client state to accept them; poisoning the land and people of some faraway banana republic for countless generations to come.

Scotland's Sunday Mail reported Greenpeace's international toxic and demolition expert Frank Petersen said: "America is using Britain as a dumping ground. We have a huge concern it could be the start of a nightmare. If they were to sink off Iceland, Scotland or the Faroes, there would be a terrible environmental impact."

Scotland's Deputy First Minister Wallace said: "Any threat to the environment from this plan would give rise to serious concerns for Scotland and in particular Orkney. As a constituency MSP, I am asking our own environment department and also the UK government about what environmental safeguards would be in place."

The only politician to query the deal in the British Parliament has been Orkney and Shetland MP Alistair Carmichael The Minister for Transport, David Jamison MP, wrote to the Northern Isles MP on 28 July stating that no application to enter the UK Pollution Control Zone - which includes the Pentland Firth - has been received by the Government. In order to secure permission to travel in UK waters a risk assessment, which includes an evaluation of the impact on the local environment, has to be undertaken. Mr Carmichael said: "In response to Parliamentary Questions I tabled, and in a letter I received from David Jamison MP today, the Government have made it quite clear that an environmental assessment has be carried out before any decision is made as to whether these ships can travel in UK waters. "I therefore think it is premature at this stage for Able UK and the US Marine Administration to reach an agreement on the dismantling of these ships. As I understand it, the UK Government have yet to receive even an application to enter the UK Pollution Control Zone. "The investigation into the Multi-tanker Ascania accident in 1999 concluded that an alternative to accepting the risk associated with loaded chemical tankers is to keep these vessels away from areas where the risk is considered to be unacceptable. Given that these ships are believed to be carrying asbestos and toxic PCBs then a very thorough investigation into the safety of this proposal is vital before any decision is made. "The fact that a contract has been entered into must not be used as a lever to put undue pressure on the Department of Transport to grant permission for these ships to travel in UK waters." "

Here, in contrast is a business press release from

A Teesside firm looks set to sign the world's biggest recycling contract which will bring 200 jobs to the area, the Gazette can reveal. Able UK could soon land a "phenomenal" deal to dismantle 13 US former naval ships from a massive obsolete fleet moored in the US, known as the Ghost Fleet. The US Maritime Administration said the contract with the Billingham-based firm, their preferred option, could be signed by the end of the week. And if successful it could mean an indefinite supply of work from the ever-growing pool of obsolete ships moored in US waters. ......

Robyn Boerstling, spokeswoman for the US Maritime Administration, said: "Everything has pretty much been negotiated but there's some details that need to be worked out. We have an immediate need to get rid of a large number of ships all at once and this facility has that capability.These are relatively old ships, but most of the hulls are in good condition. They have undergone a tow safety survey to ensure that they could make the tow across to the facility on Teesside."

Well, that's comforting. In their word, we can no doubt, put our trust. . .

Flame asks;

Have the local people been consulted ?

Why does there seem to be some sort of news grey-out on this subject?

Is there any connection between the area the ships are being dumped in, and the presence of two local and very powerful BAP MPs (British American Project, Tony Blair and Peter Mandelson)?

A single article in the Sunday newspaper 'The Observer' on July 27th 2003 and another in (Scotland's) Sunday Mail are all that mark the lowest point yet in the use of the British Isles as the United States' own Airstrip One; the British armed forces as US mercenaries; and the land itself as a money laundering heritage-park.

Ultimately, all a country really posesses in perpetuity is the land and a healthy population; so why do we have a Government prepared to risk both, so that a wealthy clique, who will live nowhere near the poison they are importing, can enjoy the benefits of our 'special relationship' to Uncle Sam.

All I can say is I'm glad I don't live in Teeside, and if I did, I'd sure as hell have some questions to ask my local MPs (are you there Mr. Mandelson, Mr Blair) as to why my childrens' children will be playing in the toxic dust of US war debris. But hey, the way things are going, we won't be here anyway. It'll just be rats, cockroaches and a few paranoid Texans huddled in their subterranean bunkers waiting for the Rapture.