No risk in dismantling huge ship, says minister

No risk in dismantling huge ship, says minister

No risk in dismantling huge ship, says minister

International experts have not detected any risk in the dismantling of a ship alleged to be consisting of 900 tons of asbestos, the Turkish environmental, urbanization and climate change minister has said.

“We would not allow anything that will cause danger to our citizens,” Murat Kurum said while slamming the allegations on social media that the shipbreaking would harm the environment and cause danger to human life.

A debate flared up on social media after news that a 900-ton asbestos Brazilian warship named “Nae Sao Paulo” would be dismantled in the Aliağa Port in the western province of İzmir spread.

Kurum’s first response to the criticisms of environmentalists storming the ministry was to “correct numbers.”

“First of all, 9 tons of asbestos is on the ship. Not 900 as mentioned,” Kurum said. “Such works for ships can only be done with international laws. The ship was approved for dismantling after its international controls.”

The minister also highlighted that following the social media sensation, Türkiye asked international experts to examine the allegations. “International experts have found no risky situation according to the Basel Convention.”

The Basel Convention is the most comprehensive global environmental agreement on hazardous and other kinds of wastes. It aims to protect human health and the environment against the adverse effects of the generation, management, transboundary movements and disposal of hazardous and other wastes.

According to the minister, breaking such ships can only be done in two countries in the world: Türkiye and India.

“The decision of dismantling the ship was taken due to international law,” Kurum said. “We will control the ship once it will enter the country’s territories.”

When asked what would happen if the warship’s asbestos level was beyond the declared number, Kurum responded without hesitation, saying, “We will send it back in case of an adverse condition.”

Making a call to citizens to be calm, Kurum said: “We will not tolerate anything putting our people’s lives in danger and harming our seas, just as we did not allow in the past.”

The minister also highlighted a safe procedure for storing asbestos.

“Türkiye has a zero-wate project. Within its scope, the asbestos taken out of the ship will be packed with international standards.”

“Its contact with air will be cut off and will be stored as per international standards. There are no worries,” he added.

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