Ship with 6,000 tons of chemical waste brought to Turkey's Aegean coast after rejected by Egypt

A ship carrying 6,000 tons of chemical waste was brought to Aliağa Ship Dismantling Center on Turkey's Aegean coast for "recycling" after Egypt rejected it.

Cihan Başakcıoğlu / Gazete Duvar

A tanker named Sloug, which was used to store chemical waste in Libya, was brought to Aliağa port on Turkey's Aegean coast for dismantling with 6,000 tons of waste.

Last year, the Brazilian warship Nae Sao Paulo, which contained high amounts of asbestos and chemicals, was wanted to be dismantled in Aliağa, but the Environment Ministry cancelled the company's permit after the reactions of the locals and environmentalists.

The 251,000-ton tanker Sloug have been used to store hazardous oil waste for years. The tanker was brought to Aliağa on Feb.24, right after the Feb. 6 earthquakes that caused great destruction in Turkey.

The tanker was first taken to Egypt From Libya but was rejected after protests by environmentalists.

The ship dismantling center in Aliağa

Chamber of Chemical Engineers’ Aegean Regional Branch stated, "The Sloug had to be dismantled because it had become unusable. Neither the Basel Convention nor the procedures required for the dismantling of the ship in our country were complied with. Have 'gas free' measurements been made for the gases vaporized from the oil in this tanker? Where and how were these free gases removed?"

The widely recognized Basel Convention, formally titled as the "International Treaty for the Regulation of Transnational Transport of Perilous Waste and Its Disposal," serves as a vital global accord with the primary objective of curbing the cross-border transport of hazardous waste especially from more economically advanced nations to their less developed counterparts.

The company, which will dismantle the tanker, argued in a statement that the ship was not a "chemical waste storage" tanker but a "crude oil storage" one. The company stated that all necessary notifications were made to relevant public institutions and controls were carried out by accredited organizations.

The Aliağa Environment Platform (ALÇEP), which fought against the ship with asbestos brought in last year, also started to take action. Speaking to Gazete Duvar, the spokesperson of the platform said, "This situation has become our fate. Ships are constantly brought in, they are not dismantled according to the existing regulations. The (dismantling) area is very closed and the public is not informed on the procedures. Official authorities also do not give us any explanation.”

The group said that they want an independent team to conduct an investigation and that they will organize protests in the coming days.

Last year, the ship which was intended to be brought to Aliağa, was banned from entering the Mediterranean sea and was illegally sunk in the Atlantic Ocean by the Brazilian military.

The report prepared by İzmir Development Agency in 2022 states that Turkey is the country that processes the most scrap steel after Bangladesh, India and Pakistan. The report stated that 22 companies in the shipyard contributed approximately $500 million dollars to Turkish economy.

The report also stated that the decline in crude oil prices starting in 2015 leading to a contraction in oil production and this situation has accelerated the dismantling and recycling process of oil platforms. Turkey has become one of the most preferred countries for recycling, according to the report.