Portugal turns away toxic US ships
LISBON - Portugal has blocked two toxic U.S. ships heading for Britain from docking in the mid-Atlantic Azores islands, Portuguese news agency Lusa has reported.
The contaminated former Navy ships are being towed to northern England where they are to be broken up. Britain said on Friday the company contracted to begin scrapping them did not have proper permission and the ships would have to return to the United States after docking in Britain.
Port authorities on the island of Sao Miguel, about 1,450 km (900 miles) west of the Portuguese mainland, said yesterday the tug had asked for permission to resupply there but it had been denied, Portuguese news agency Lusa said.
A Defence Ministry spokesman told Lusa that a navy corvette was monitoring the ships to be sure they stayed out of Portuguese waters.
Navy and Defence Ministry spokesmen were not immediately available to comment.
The former U.S. Navy supply ships, both dating from World War Two, are polluted with asbestos, toxic polychlorinated biphenyls and heavy fuel oil.
Plans to break up the ships in Britain sparked outrage among environmentalists.
REUTERS NEWS SERVICE
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