Large quantities of highly toxic chemicals from decommissioned British naval ships were removed in Greek shipyards in 2001, according to government officials in London quoted in a report yesterday. A spokesman for the British Ministry of Defense said «contaminants» had been removed from the two vessels «in Greece,» Britain’s Guardian daily reported. The Olwen and Olna tankers, which contained high levels of asbestos and other carcinogens, were then sent to India to be broken up, the spokesman said. The tankers had initially been headed for Turkey, which refused to dismantle them. The Guardian said they were then taken to Greece, registered under Greek names and sailed to India. This month Athens banned a decommissioned French aircraft carrier containing toxic chemicals from entering the country to be scrapped.