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Toxic ship cleared for dismantling

The toxic substances-laden US passenger ship Platinum-II has been given dismantling permission at the Alang ship-breaking yard even as it has been declared wreck,both by the ship agent and the Gujarat Maritime Board.

Written by Hiral Dave | Rajkot |
January 5, 2010 5:19:13 am

Gujarat Maritime Board has given permission for breaking of US liner Platinum II at Alang after receiving a final nod from the Ministry of Environment and Forests

The toxic substances-laden US passenger ship Platinum-II has been given dismantling permission at the Alang ship-breaking yard even as it has been declared wreck,both by the ship agent and the Gujarat Maritime Board (GMB).

According to GMB officials,the permission has been given only after receiving a final nod from the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF). Earlier,on November 9,MoEF had banned beaching and breaking of the vessel based on a Central committee report that had confirmed the presence of toxic PCBs and asbestos aboard the ship. The report had also alleged that the ship entered Indian waters on fake Kiribati registry. The MoEF has also asked the GMB to conduct an investigation into the matter of fake registry.

When contacted,Dr Saroj,Director,Basel Action Network at MoEF,who had issued the ban on the ship,maintained ignorance about the revoking of the November 9 order. Rajiv Gauba,Joint Secretary,MoEF was not available for his comments.

“We had filed a reply in response to the November 9 order stating that ship contained very less toxic substance,up to 210 tonnes,and that it can be removed safely at Alang. Besides,the GMB made it clear that it checked for the last port clearance,which in the case of Platinum-II,was given by Dubai. So,it is not required to check the papers beyond Dubai port,” said GMB Chief Nautical Officer Captain S C Mathur.

The GMB had asked the Platinum-II agent to remove the ‘wreck’. “Removing the wreck means removing the toxic substances as per SC guidelines and breaking the dead ship at the yard as it is no longer sea-worthy,” said Mathur.

Currently,Platinum-II is anchored off Gopnath,some 40 nautical miles from Alang,and poses great danger to marine traffic on this busy route. “The wreck should be removed before the onset of monsoon to avoid any untoward incident,” said Mathur.

Gopal Krishna of Indian Platform of Ship Breaking,an NGO,which has maintained that beaching and breaking will violate the Supreme Court order,US Toxic Substance Control Act and UN Basel Convention & Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants.

“The GMB has been reacting. The US agent should have called back the toxic vessel,” he said.

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