23 JANUARY 2002
With thousands of ships from around the world being registered in Malta, its an inevitable fact that Maltese-flagged ships are in the headlines more often than not.
This time its the Maltese-registered Borzna, which is currently berthed in the Indian port of Madras unloading some 10,000 tonnes of scrap recovered from the ruins of New Yorks World Trade Centre.
The debris will soon be gracing Indian households in the form of steel furniture and kitchenware, recycled from the scrap purchased from the Ground Zero site of the 11 September terrorist atrocity.
The Borzna, with 22 Ukrainian crew, sailed out of New York on 15 November and none of the ship's crew were allowed to disembark during the loading operations. The US Coast Guard kept vigil until the ship lifted anchor and sailed out.
The shipment of scrap steel recovered from Manhattans financial district arrived in the southern Indian port city earlier this month. However, while it had taken five days to load the vessel in New York, it could take up to three weeks to offload, given the less mechanised facilities in Madras.
The Madras dealer who brought the 10,000 tonne shipment for some Lm50 per tonne CIF (cost, insurance and freight) from a Dubai-based trader, estimated the total scrap from the WTC disaster at more than 300,000 tonnes.
In fact, three other vessels carrying similar volumes of WTC wreckage are headed for China and another is on its way to India.
The Madras dealer said his consignment would be resold on the local
steel scrap market and would be feeding the 50-odd furnaces in and around
Madras for recycling into ingots.
"We, in the scrap trade, do not attach any importance to the source of our consignments and many times they come from broken mansions, collapsed bridges and disasters all over the world," the Indian dealer said.
"It is all just scrap, ready to be recycled. I have handled such scrap from Poland, Japan, Britain and, of course, the USA. Even now, I am going through photographs of some wrecked bridges in America for buying up their scrap."