Twelve years after its arrival, the Rio Tagus has finally left the port

Eleven and a half years after being abandoned by its owner, the Rio Tagus has finally left the port of Sète. This garbage ship built in 1979 had been rusting since October 30, 2010 in the Hérault port after discharging ammonium nitrate. She had been abandoned with her crew of Guinean, Egyptian and Ukrainian sailors by her American owner, based in Panama. Her crew had been helped for several months to survive by seafarers’ associations, before being able to leave France.

“Faced with the abandonment of the ship by its new owner and despite the port’s attempts to reconcile with it, the Occitanie Region has initiated eviction proceedings with the administrative court, evokes the community, owner of the port. After 18 months of proceedings, the Region obtained the authorization, by decision of November 21, 2020, to ensure the dismantling at the expense and risk of its owner. »

Alerts from the Robin Hood association

The ship left Sète on Saturday evening, supported by the semi-submersible vessel Yacht Express. Thus secured, it must reach Brest where it must be demolished by the Navaleo. The Breton company which won the call for tenders launched by the Occitanie Region in 2021 for the dismantling of the ship.

Given the state of the ship, the environmental defense association Robin des Bois has for years unsuccessfully demanded its demolition “in situ within the framework of a Classified Installation for the Protection of the Environment, provisional certainly, but supervised by the services of the State”. She did not win the case. It also alerted the public authorities to the presence, on the submerged hull, “of a collection of mussels from the Thau pond with a thickness of 5 cm. If these mussels are not scraped before departure, they risk becoming an invasive species in the basins of the port of Brest. »

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