The Supreme Court on Monday allowed a former cruise liner that environmental activists say contains toxic asbestos to enter Indian waters, but said it could only be scrapped once it was declared safe.

Greenpeace and other groups say the 46,000-tonne Blue Lady, which is sailing for the Alang shipbreaking yard in Gujarat to be dismantled, contains more than 900 tonnes of asbestos.

Activists say Indian yards lack the modern technology to safely handle such waste, putting the health of workers at risk.

While refusing to ban the ship, the court said customs and port authorities would verify the amount of contaminants on board and report their findings to it.

A decision would then be made on whether work on scrapping the vessel could be carried out safely at the Indian yard.

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