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Jul 9, 2000
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I've never seen the 60 Minutes segment but I know enough about the problems to at least discuss it in a reasonably intelligent fashion.

In my opinion, a lot of what you see in the toxis hellholes of China, Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan is due in no small part to the west being able to identify the problems without being willing to do anything really substantive about them.

Making regulations and laws for such disposal is the easy part, but what the politicians forget, in the same way they always forget with unfunded manadates, is that somebody has to pay for compliance with all the new rules.

The unintended consequence is that it's nearly impossible to economically scrap a vessel in dire need of scrapping since both the owners and the scrappers have to pay the bills for cleanup and disposal. This was one of the issues which bankrupted the outfit which dismantled the USS Coral Sea.

In light of that, it's not at all surprising that owners choose to dispose of old ships in places where nobody seems to mind having the beaches soaked through with asbestos, murcury, low level radioactives, and PCB's.
 
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In light of that, it's not at all surprising that owners choose to dispose of old ships in places where nobody seems to mind having the beaches soaked through with asbestos, mercury, low level radioactives, and PCB's.

Forgive me for putting words in your mouth--that's unintended--but that also seems to imply that owners are more concerned with money than exposing innocent people to [potentially] toxic waste. Beaches are visited by people all the time. Unless what you're inferring is that those beaches are isolated from populated areas, which would be safer.

Even if the issue does fall on the shoulders of the politicians and those who make and enforce laws, owners are still responsible for keeping these dangerous out of the reach of people who could become contaminated by them and die. Elephants have a graveyard, shouldn't old ships?

All I am saying is this: Keep the contaminated scraps away from people. This common-sense consideration should not have to be mandated by law.​
 
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Mark, I went ahead and moved this topic here to The Ship Scrapping Issues thread here in the Other Ships and Shipwrecks folder.

No problem. As you can see, I found it.
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>>Forgive me for putting words in your mouth--that's unintended--but that also seems to imply that owners are more concerned with money than exposing innocent people to [potentially] toxic waste.<<

I don't think it's melevolant intent, but more a de facto position. The problem here is a question of who pays for the clean-up. With all of the liability falling on both the owners and the buyers alike, it's simply easier and more cost effective to send the toxic rustbucket someplace where nobody asks too many questions. Since such costs can...and have...broken the bank in some cases, it's not hard to see why.

The law is actually a part of the problem in that it's good in identifying the problem, but fails to account for the fact that the pockets being picked to pay for the solution are not unlimited.

Remember the arguements against unfunded mandates the Republican Party was yakking about back in the 1990's? I know, I know, they were yakking about it for the sake of the soundbyte, but they weren't entirely wrong either. With ship scrapping, it's the same issue with the same baggage.

>>Keep the contaminated scraps away from people.<<

Which unfortunately isn't all that easy. Take a look at any junkyard, then try to picture the same situation where you have 100,000 ton ships instead of cars and then account for the fact that somebody has to get in there and handle the stuff. Robots don't exist yet which can do it.
 
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Remember the arguments against unfunded mandates the Republican Party was yakking about back in the 1990's? I know, I know, they were yakking about it for the sake of the soundbyte, but they weren't entirely wrong either. With ship scrapping, it's the same issue with the same baggage.

I agree that with mandates comes the responsibility of backing them, up with appropriate funding, otherwise the laws set in place cannot be enforced [to full extent].


The fact that lawmakers aren't always aware that outside funding sources do not have bottomless pocketbooks does not exclude the owners from all responsibility. This is why I am against those owners from just dumping scraped ships just anywhere. Have ship owners shared information with lawmakers regarding outside funding resources? Perhaps for a proper and viable solution, both ship owners {do they have organizations to represent them?) and lawmakers should work together to develop equitable laws pertaining to this issue. Or have they? Laws developed through the shared respective insights of every party involved will be most effectively applicable to resolve the issue.


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Which unfortunately isn't all that easy. Take a look at any junkyard, then try to picture the same situation where you have 100,000 ton ships instead of cars and then account for the fact that somebody has to get in there and handle the stuff.

The thing is, though, Mike, junkyards are not [apt to be] filled with toxic or hazard waste material, which is one reason why cities are cluttered with them. Old ships are much more of a concern because they generate materials dangerous to human health. That is why this is a much more serious situation.

Being easier-said-than-done is no excuse to just not do anything; on the contrary, it is a greater reason to persist so that conditions and practices are improved for the sake human safety.​
 
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>>Have ship owners shared information with lawmakers regarding outside funding resources?<<

I'm sure they've tried but if Congresscritter Snarfblat, Senator Hydebound and President Cor're Upt have already made up their minds and don't want awkward things...like facts...to cloud the issue, there's not a whole lot they can do about it beyond playing the game they already do. That is to sell a ship through a number of fronts that are little more then postal drops until it's foisted off on somebody who isn't bothered by the toxic surprise packages lurking aboard.

>>The thing is, though, Mike, junkyards are not [apt to be] filled with toxic or hazard waste material,<<

Motor oil, brake fluid, hydralic fluids, batteries with lead and acid, old tires, asbestoes brakes, need I go on? And that's just in the automobiles!

>>Being easier-said-than-done is no excuse to just not do anything; <<

You're right, it isn't. By the same token, writing the laws in such a manner as to make cost effective demolition/dismantling/recycling bloody well near impossible without breaking the bank only serves to aggravate problems.

Not just in the private sector either. Look at the problems the USN and MARAD have had in disposing of old obsolete vessels. When the very government which writes the laws in the first place have problems with paying for it...even though they can compel revenue under penalty of law...imagine the problems the private sector has. They can't sock it to you with taxes the way Washington DC or Whitehall can!
 
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That is to sell a ship through a number of fronts that are little more then postal drops until it's foisted off on somebody who isn't bothered by the toxic surprise packages lurking aboard.

You say that as if there isn't any. Anyone who wouldn't be bothered by being in close proximity of such toxic substances would likely be either dead or extremely ill.


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Motor oil, brake fluid, hydralic fluids, batteries with lead and acid, old tires, asbestoes brakes, need I go on? And that's just in the automobiles!

These aren't as nearly as dangerous as the noxious materials given off by scrapped ships, Michael. Hell, we handle them every day, quite often with our bare hands (save for, perhaps, the battery acid). You cannot even compare them.


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You're right, it isn't. By the same token, writing the laws in such a manner as to make cost effective demolition/dismantling/recycling bloody well near impossible without breaking the bank only serves to aggravate problems.

Responsible behavior on anyone's part should not have to be determined or dictated by laws and the amount and kind of funding that is available to address the issue.

Perhaps better laws need to be developed to improve the practices and conditions involved in scrapping old ships, not to mention the accumulation of more funds. To make that happen, everyone involved needs to take an active stand. To say "Well the corrupt politicians in Washington aren't interested in doing anything, and we don't have the money, so just drop it anywhere" doesn't cut it for me. Those who own old ships should know how to handle them and to do so accordingly and safely without the government holding their hands.

Can't these owners (if they haven't already) form an organization and discuss the problems and then try to improve the practices with enhanced safety protocols in place? These people (i.e. shipowners) know ships better than the politicians do, so why can't they establish their own rules?


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When the very government which writes the laws in the first place have problems with paying for it...

This is why shipowners cannot rely solely on the government for assistance and/or direction. It's the same as a collection of experts in a given field necessitating laypeople to show them how to deal with their own business, or an employer waiting on employees to make the business kick over. If the employees are ineffective, fire them and find someone else who is willing and capable of doing what needs to be done to help the business move forward. If the government isn't doing it, find other resources who can and will.

Just because there is no law stating, for example, that "Shipowners can't do 'this' or 'that'" doesn't mean that those shipowners should or can. Thinking need not be placed on the shoulders of those having less knowledge, understanding and/or inclination regarding certain issues (i.e. the politicians). It's like the blind leading those who can see.

Does this make any sense?​
 
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They can't sock it to you with taxes the way Washington DC or Whitehall can!

Yes, I know all too well how hefty taxes can be. The IRS seems to think it is the "ultimate force in the galaxy," and it kicks you in the ass until you cry "foul!" That's not a pleasant prospect for anyone to have to face. Ouch!​
 
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>>You say that as if there isn't any. Anyone who wouldn't be bothered by being in close proximity of such toxic substances would likely be either dead or extremely ill.<<

The people who are not bothered by it are the ones who are not doing the dirty work, but who are raking in the profits from it. The people doing the dirty work are often glad to have the jobs because the only option is unemployment in a country which has little if any concept whatever of a social "Safety Net."

I'm not disagreeing with your concerns.They're entirely valid and in an ideal world, people would act responsibly and wouldn't have to be told or forced to do so. Further, in an ideal world, the governments which write the laws would take into account the consequences of those laws and have some practical solutions to offer which don't force a shipping line and the salvage yards into bankruptcy.

The problem here is that we don't live in an ideal world. The governments of the world don't have to do the dirty work, but the ship owners and ship breakers do and that means they have to work things out as they go. What it means is that we have bodies which are adept at identifying the problems but the ones with the pull to make things happen are indifferent or downright incompetant at identifying the solutions.
 
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The problem here is that we don't live in an ideal world. The governments of the world don't have to do the dirty work, but the ship owners and ship breakers do and that means they have to work things out as they go.

Mike, don't get me wrong, I am very familiar with the real world. This is a very imperfect and unjust place, and we all have to make due the best we can.

Politicians and lawmakers are likely not to even care about the issue. As you've said, they're not the ones to get their hands dirty. That makes me wonder if the politicians are to blame for all or most of the problems in the world. After all, they normally dictate how things will or "should" be done, not to mention provide the bulk of the funding (money is power, as the saying goes). What they do affects everyone else.

The funny thing is that they flash their smiles wide as if to insist that they are everyone's "best friend." I don't trust them--never did never will. That's why I never vote. I don't want to take part in putting a dishonest creton in office. Voting when I know better would make me look just as bad. Since no politician can be trusted, I don't vote for any of them. (MHO)

In any case, this is a nasty reality that will not likely be cleaned up as long as corruption exists in the world.​
 
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>>The funny thing is that they flash their smiles wide as if to insist that they are everyone's "best friend." <<

And what they mean is something a bit too racy to post here. I'll leave it to your imagination but suffice to say, it involves bending over. I'll leave it at that.

>>In any case, this is a nasty reality that will not likely be cleaned up as long as corruption exists in the world.<<

Well, it can be, but what the parties need to do is engage in a two way dialogue where each side really listens to the others concerns. Short of that, I suspect the real workable solutions to these problems will come from the private sector if only because ultimately, it'll be in their best interests.
 
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it involves bending over.

Um, Michael, I do believe that even this says too much, hehe. But I get the point.
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what the parties need to do is engage in a two way dialogue where each side really listens to the others concerns.

I think that's one point I made above, but I realize the difficulties. We know this is the essential first-step, but getting there . . . No, actually, thinking about it further, THAT would be the first step: How would that come about (i.e. their coming together)? What would that take in the real world where corrupt politicians tend to throw their weight around via a flashy smile and a jar of Vaseline in hand?


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Short of that, I suspect the real workable solutions to these problems will come from the private sector if only because ultimately, it'll be in their best interests.

Can this feasibly be done without the involvement of governments? If so, one would think that such a solution would already have been cast underway. Perhaps the creation of organizations and agencies comprised of experts, shipowners and private financiers could set down regulations in accordance with already existing laws covering maritime activity and practices. The likely result, though, unfortunately, is that corruption is liable to flourish here, too. Too much power in one place is never a good idea.

Then again . . . we get back to that "you-scratch-my-back-I'll-scratch-yours" dynamic that seems to facilitate favoritism and corruption on a broader scale.​
 
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>>Can this feasibly be done without the involvement of governments?<<

I don't know but since they're a part of the problem, I don't think it's asking too much that they make an earnest effort to be a part of the solution.

So what's the catch?

The catch is that when faced with tough problems, politicians tend to find it easier to just do nothing of any real substance. it may not be right, but it is expediant, and expediancy rules in politricks!
 
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I don't know but since they're a part of the problem, I don't think it's asking too much that they make an earnest effort to be a part of the solution.

And that is wherein the difficulties lie, since, because they are a part of the problem, they are not liable to serve as part of the solution, which, of course, is what you were saying.

This is why I am wondering if the proper solution would not include governments, as reliance on government cooperation is not likely forthcoming. Since they are part of the problem, exclude them altogether.

I see! This is exactly why you were saying that such a solution is likely to come about via private sectors--because they have the interest, knowledge and funding to accomplish improvements how and where needed.

I am still curious to know why such efforts haven't already been attempted, if that is the case. I presume it is, since you've mentioned this in the 'conditional' sense.


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expediancy rules in politricks!

As does money!
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>>I am still curious to know why such efforts haven't already been attempted,<<

They are. Give the thread outside this one a peek and check out the various news stories I keep posting. The shipping companies and the international regulatory and standard setting bodies are not blind to the problems. They're trying to do something about it, if only because they know that government intervention has tended to make matters worse.
 
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They are. Give the thread outside this one a peek and check out the various news stories I keep posting.

I have, to some degree. I haven't read through them in depth, though. They are very interesting!


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They're trying to do something about it, if only because they know that government intervention has tended to make matters worse.

If this is the case, scrapping should no longer be a problem, unless these independent entities have repeatedly come across other obstacles not related to governments.

As for government intervention, I am not one bit surprised. Governments tend to stick their noses into everyone's business, as if they think that they are the ultimate authority over the personal issues of everybody and everything. This is why I wonder if laws set down by these governments are necessary or even create hindrances. The laws set down by the organizations representing the concerns of those involved should be enough.

That appears to be another problem--the conflict over whether or not governments should be involved and, if so, how and to what extent.​
 
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>>If this is the case, scrapping should no longer be a problem, unless these independent entities have repeatedly come across other obstacles not related to governments.<<

But government is one of the problems, and a big one. It's not as if they didn't have good intentions but the road to Hell is paved with that sort of thing. It all boils down to being long on identifying and legislating against the problem, but being short and often silent on ideas to creatively solve any of them. The veritable witches brew of regulations from one country to another don't help either.

What's needed is a single set of standards which are realistic and agreed upon internationally that everybody will abide by.
 
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But government is one of the problems, and a big one.

You try to tell them that. Governments tend to boast this unwavering attitude that they are of the "greatest wisdom."


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The veritable witches brew of regulations from one country to another don't help either.

Diversity provides variety, but is can also induce confusion and conflict when values and perspectives clash, and that's usually unavoidable. Meeting on common ground is always a good place to start.


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What's needed is a single set of standards which are realistic and agreed upon internationally that everybody will abide by.

As said: based on common needs and values, which aren't always easy to ascertain. Ah, the struggle can sometimes be more difficult to resolve than the issue it serves to overcome.​
 
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