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Clemenceau detained in Egypt

Clemenceau detained in Egypt

If the aircraft-carrier fails to prove compliance, Egyptian authorities would consider sailing of Clemenceau illegal.

New Delhi: Egyptian authorities on Thursday stopped the decommissioned French aircraft carrier Clemenceau from entering Suez Canal and its territorial waters.

Sources at Greenpeace say that in a fax sent by the Egyptian authorities to the French and Indian government, it has demanded certificates to prove full compliance of the Basel convention on Movement of Hazardous Wastes.

The Basel convention is an international treaty addressing cleaner production, hazardous waste minimisation and controls on the movement of such wastes.

If the two countries fail to prove the compliance, the Egyptian authorities would consider the sailing of Clemenceau as illegal. The aircraft carrier would then be sent back to the mother port in France.

Two activists of Greenpeace boarded the Clemenceau to protest its transfer to an Indian breakers' yard in Alang, where environmentalists say workers will be at risk of asbestos poisoning.

The campaigners used a motorised dinghy to approach the ship, which is travelling towards the Suez canal in international waters off the Egyptian coast, the French ministry of defence said on Thursday.

The estimate on asbestos on board the aircraft carrier, on way to the Alang ship breaking yard in Gujarat, varies from 50 to 500 tonnes.

The Clemenceau, which took part in the 1991 Gulf War, was taken out of service in 1997 when it was superseded by France's new, nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, the Charles de Gaulle.

It left the Mediterranean port of Toulon on December 31 after a long legal battle, and is due in India at the end of February.

(With inputs from AFP)
first published:January 12, 2006, 19:58 IST