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Oslo - Five Norwegian government agencies are now tightening controls on the export and import of hazardous waste by tankers and bulk carriers. The challenge is to find illegal cross-border transport of hazardous waste when in the course of every year there are up to 100,000 shipping movements into Norwegian ports.

Police boat in Hamburg harbour
Foto: Pixelio / Bernd Sterzl
In May 2007 several tanks at the Vest Tank facility in Gulen in Sogn og Fjordane exploded. The Norwegian Pollution Control Authority (SFT) reported the company and the transport company Trafigura for having illegally imported hazardous waste, among other things. “Experience from this incident has shown a need for stronger, more coordinated and efficient control over the import and export of hazardous waste to and from Norwegian ports by the Authority,” says SFT director Ellen Hambro.

Strengthening and coordinating control of shipping: The Norwegian Pollution Control Authority took the initiative for a working group with the Directorate for Civil Protection and Emergency Planning, the Norwegian Coastal Administration, the Norwegian Maritime Directorate and the Customs and Excise Authority to develop improved control over the export and import of hazardous waste by tanker and bulk carrier. The five government agencies all have different control functions connected with ships’ arrival at and departure from Norwegian ports.

“It is important to make use of each other’s competence, computer systems and presence so that together we are better prepared to reveal and prevent the illegal import and export of hazardous waste,” says SFT director Ellen Hambro. “The agencies are now sending a joint report to the Ministry of the Environment in which we present a proposal for increased controls over the export and import of hazardous waste by ship. Together we will establish routines and warning systems that will improve our ability to reveal the illegal import or export of hazardous waste by ship,” says SFT director Ellen Hambro.

The five government agencies have therefore developed a system for filtering out the most likely ship movements. “We intend to discover the very few cases of illegal activity. This should occur without disturbing all the legal transports and without using a disproportionate amount of resources. We now propose an effective and coordinated control system in which the probability of disclosing illegal activities is so great that it will deter potential law breakers,” says SFT director Ellen Hambro.

The physical controls will mainly be carried out during loading and unloading or at the reception facilities for hazardous waste after unloading. The new system will include control of documents, visual control and, if necessary, sampling and analysing the cargo. The controls will also depend on observations that give cause for suspicion by those in the public service in the pilot service and traffic control. The new system from 2010 will supplement the controls SFT already makes of onshore facilities that handle or generate hazardous waste.

“The exchange of information and coordination of action across national borders to prevent the illegal transport of hazardous waste is very important. It will not be sufficient for only us in Norway to sharpen up controls, other countries must do so as well. We will therefore work internationally to achieve better control of the cross-border transport of hazardous waste in ships,” says SFT director Ellen Hambro.

Quelle: Norwegian Pollution Control Authority (SFT)

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Artikel vom: 11.12.2009 11:34
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