Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 13 September 2003

Death Ships, Courtesy Of The Free Market

THIRTEEN HIGHLY toxic ships are to be imported from the US to be dismantled in a deal struck by the waste disposal company AbleUK. They will get £10.8 million plus two almost complete oil tankers from the US government.

Lois Austin

AbleUK plan to bring the ships in a 4,500-mile journey from the James River, Virginia, where the ships have been rotting, to Teesside. Environmental campaigners fear that these ships, riddled with asbestos, oil and other pollutants will cause a trail of environmental disaster across the Atlantic.

A US salvage expert told The Guardian: "some of the ships will break up before they reach Teesside. They're leaking and listing and that's just sitting at anchor in a river.

"If they get to sea, some will definitely start to break up. When they get to Teesside, they will be leaking even more... heavy oil [could] leak out and pollute the river there."

But the Environment Agency told The Guardian that "obstructing the deal would have put the UK in breach of free trade laws on waste," in other words market forces justify anything.

Never mind an environmental disaster that will cause the pollution of the sea and rivers in the North East for decades to come. Nothing must be allowed to stand in the way of free market capitalism and big money deals, which must be allowed to go ahead whatever the consequences.

Big business cannot be trusted to deal with such delicate matters as disposal of highly toxic waste. Companies such as AbleUK (who stand to be fined $1,350 for each day the ships remain where there are, once the contract is signed) only have one consideration - profit.

Teesside council does have the power to stop AbleUK bringing these ships to Britain. Trade unions and the local community should put pressure on them to do this.

Apparently there are mixed feelings on Teesside. Some people are outraged at plans to import this toxic waste.

Others think that it will bring much-needed jobs to the area.

Teesside is a part of the country that has suffered massively from de-industrialisation and the collapse of manufacturing industry. But rather than being given the dirty end of the stick, it needs real state investment to create long-lasting jobs and the regeneration of the region.

An environmental catastrophe is threatened if this polluting 'ghost' fleet is allowed to be dragged half way around the world.

Former US President Clinton was forced to stop US waste going to Africa - why are New Labour letting it come to Britain?

The US government should take responsibility for dismantling these ships in a safe and controlled way in the port where they already stand. US workers involved in this process should be given maximum health and safety protection.

Donate to the Socialist Party

Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our special coronavirus appeal.

Please donate here.

All payments are made through a secure server.

My donation £


Your message: 


In The Socialist 13 September 2003:

More Money For Public Services: end The Occupation Of Iraq

Postal Workers Expose Low Pay Scandal

Postal workers: Treated Like Third-Class Citizens

30 years after the 11 September military coup: The Lessons Of Chile

Workers' Anger Begins To Show At TUC

Stoke by-election: standing For Socialism

Prison Threat To Anti-War Protester

No To Victimisation Of Union Activists

Death Ships, Courtesy Of The Free Market

The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists

Two years after September 11, US Empire Looking Shaky

WTO in Cancún: Where Corporations Plot To Rule The World

Abu Mazen Resignation Ends Bush's 'Road Map'


Home   |   The Socialist 13 September 2003   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  

Related links:


trianglePlastic waste ignored

triangleCoronavirus - waste processing employers putting us at risk

triangleAttacks on Caerphilly waste management workers

triangleVeolia waste workers vote for action in Cheshire

triangleNo to Tory plans for radioactive waste under national parks


triangleSocialist planning is the alternative

triangleSecret cuts meeting couldn't prevent protests in Newham

triangleSocialist Sellers

triangleStop gentrification in Newham: "We are here, you have consulted us and we're not going anywhere!"


triangleI left Labour and want to end capitalism - join us in Socialist Party

triangleReaders' opinion



triangleTeesside Socialist Party: After the general election - Stand firm for socialist policies

triangleTeesside Socialist Party: Climate emergency; System change = Socialist change


triangleThe Socialist inbox


triangle75th anniversary of the Attlee Labour government

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns


Fighting Fund

Fighting Fund: Target smashed by half time



Equity union president elections: re-elect Maureen



Change in leadership needed to secure union's future


Black Lives Matter

BLM has not stopped - protesters flock to Socialists


Ken Douglas

Red flags line road for Ken



Leeds City Council in danger of bankruptcy





The Socialist

Selling the Socialist



Cardiff community fights nursery closure: Council must step in



Come to the NSSN conference


Sunday trading

Sunday trading: Government blinks first



Equity: Solidarity with Maxine Peake


Tower Hamlets

Tower Hamlets council strike


Ministry of Justice

MoJ cleaners' covid outbreak


Ken Douglas

Memorial funds for Ken Douglas and Mick Cotter

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube



Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777


Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 079 8202 1969

East Mids: 077 3797 8057

London: 07748 534 891

North East: 078 4114 4890

North West 079 5437 6096

South West: 077 5979 6478

Southern: 078 3368 1910

Wales: 079 3539 1947

West Mids: 024 7655 5620

Yorkshire: 077 0671 0041



Alphabetical listing

July 2020

June 2020

May 2020

April 2020

March 2020

February 2020

January 2020