Nuclear shipment bound for Australia sparks outcry

A ship described by one French MP as a “dustbin” has set off from France to Australia carrying a controversial cargo of nuclear waste.

Greenpeace and French environmentalists had campaigned for the shipment to be stopped. However, French authorities said the BBC Shanghai (4,900 dwt, 2001 built) was in good condition and allowed it to go, carrying 25 tonnes of nuclear waste from Areva’s reprocessing plant in Beaumont-Hague, near the port of Cherbourg, from where the ship set sail on Thursday.

Shortly before the cargo ship set sail, French Green MP Denis Baupin tweeted (in French) that Areva was “using a dustbin ship to carry waste, without any serious inspection”.

The Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (Ansto) said a full inspection of the ship had been carried out by both French maritime safety authorities and by the French nuclear safety regulator on October 14.

Equasis states the BBC Shanghai is owned by Briese Schiffahrts.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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