October 14, 2009 1:26:32 am
The 18,503-tonne passenger ship Platinum II,on its way to the Alang Ship Breaking Yard in Bhavnagar,is in danger of sinking,endangering the lives of eight crew members on board a tug,besides posing a threat to environment. The asbestos-loaded vessel was anchored off the Alang shore for five days,awaiting clearance from the Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB) for beaching at plot number two at ASBY in the Bay of Cambay.
The vessel was totally non-functional and was being manoeuvred by a tug,Barakoda. But the tug also broke down at mid-sea on Tuesday.
The two vessels were caught in the high-velocity winds that same evening and after hitting land at the Piram Bet islands,started drifting towards Gopnath off the Tadaja shore by Wednesday.
Alang Port Officer P M Rathod said: The vessel is in danger. GMB has sent a tug to save the vessel and eight people on the board Barakoda. The GMB team is in contact with the crewmembers of the tug and they are safe.
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Platinum II has nine decks and passenger capacity of 1,021 people. The vessel is estimated to cost approximately Rs 35 crore.
Though it does not contain any loose hazardous material,the presence of asbestos had delayed its beaching process. GPCB had conducted two rounds of inspection and the procedure to give pollution clearance is underway.
An inspection by the GPCB team revealed that the vessel does contain asbestos,but it doesnt have any loose hazardous material on board. A GPCB team from Gandhinagar had done the second round of inspection. The documents to give environmental clearance have been under process, said G P Patel,regional GPCB officer.
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