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Last Updated: Wednesday, 8 February 2006, 16:25 GMT
Bid to allay 'ghost ship' fears
US ghost fleet
Nine more vessels are waiting to be brought to Teesside
A company, wanting to scrap former US naval ships at a base on Teesside, has made fresh moves to calm fears about the possible impact on the environment.

Able UK wants to dismantle up to 13 so-called ghost ships at a hi-tech facility at Graythorp, Hartlepool.

The firm, which has been criticised by environmental groups, has submitted detailed information about how the work will affect a nearby conservation area.

Hartlepool Council has agreed to a further period of public consultation.

Able UK said in a statement that it welcomed the 21-day extension.

'Dredging works'

Chairman and chief executive Peter Stephenson said: "We have had discussions with the regulatory agencies on points of clarification they raised on the very detailed environmental impact statement we included with our planning application submitted to the council in January last year.

"As a result of those discussions we have submitted the additional information to the council.

"I hope that people will take the chance to study the latest information we have provided and that the council will be in a position to move forward with our application at the earliest opportunity."

Green groups claim the former naval vessels contain dangerous toxins.

The first of four ships arrived on the River Tees on 12 November 2003. No date has yet been set for the transport of further vessels.

A spokesman for Hartlepool Council said: "The additional information has been supplied by Able UK in response to questions raised by consultees about the possible impact of its proposals on nature conservation and related issues.

"The company's main planning application seeks permission to construct, repair, refurbish and decommission ships, vessels and other craft, and also proposes dredging works within the dock basin.

"Two alternative schemes for installing a cofferdam have also been submitted."

Oils and oily ballast water could cause damage to the marine environment.
Asbestos is a known carcinogen but is denser than water and non-soluble.
PCBs have been called "probable carcinogens" and have been linked with neurological and developmental problems in humans.
Mercury, lead, chromium and cadmium are highly toxic metals which accumulate in the body.

Q&A: Ghost ships
07 Jan 04 |  England

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