The breaking up of the former floating oil production and storage tanker (FPSO) North Sea Producer was halted by the Bangladesh High Court after the discovery of radioactive substances aboard the vessel.
It was reported that the radioactive substances accumulated over the years of processing crude oil were found in inside pipes.
The North Sea Producer had been built by Odense Staal. A/S. Lindo, in 1983 as the tanker Dagmar Maersk, 99,800dwt, and in 1996-97, she was converted into a FPSO on the Tees.
The vessel, registered in Douglas, Isle of Man, was operated in the MacCalloch oil field in the North Sea by the UK-based North Sea Production Co, a joint venture between the Maersk Group, of Denmark, and the Brazilian oil and gas company Odebrecht. She was managed by the Maersk Group.
On being withdrawn from service, the FPSO returned to the Tees in 2015 and was laid up at the Able UK facility. In May, 2016, and renamed Producer, she left the Tees, having been sold by the Maersk Group for further trading.
Instead, she was resold and was towed to Bangladesh where she arrived on Aug 14 and was beached two days later at the Janata Steel shipbreaking yard in Chittagong.
The NGO Shipbreaking Platform, of Brussels, said in mid-June: “Following a petition filed by our member Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association, the courts have maintained the halt in breaking up the ship.”
A division bench of the Bangladesh High Court directed the Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission (BAEC), the Bangladesh Atomic Energy Regulatory Authority (BAERA), and the Marine Port Initiative (MPI) of the Customs to produce their reports on radioactive contamination of the FPSO before the court within 10 weeks.
At the same time, the UK environmental authorities DEFRA are said to be investigating the circumstances surrounding the export of the hazardous waste on the Producer from the Tees to Bangladesh.