Gujarat maritime board to probe toxic US ship's ownership
10 November 2009 (Gandhinagar) – The Gujarat Maritime Board (GMB) is to look into irregularities of ownership of Platinum II, a US ship believed to be carrying toxic material and awaiting clearance for berthing and dismemberment at the Alang ship breaking yard for over a month, an official said Tuesday.
This follows a note from union Environment and Forests Minister Jairam Ramesh Monday to the Gujarat government and other agencies advising that the controversial ship not be allowed to berth at Alang. The memorandum also asked the Gujarat Maritime Board to look into the case of falsified ownership of the vessel as brought to the notice of the central ministry.
Highly placed sources in the government of Gujarat said Tuesday that the state maritime board would address the queries raised by the union environment ministry. ”The board will look into the irregularities pertaining to the ship brought to its notice by the union ministry,” the official said.
According to the environment ministry memorandum, it had been brought to its notice that the ship violated the United States Toxic Substances Control Act and that an order had been passed by the US Environment Protection Authority against its owners.
The central govenment also wanted the GMB to probe allegations that the ship had been brought to India with a falsified flag and registry.
Komalkant Sharma, the owner of Platinum II, said he was still awaiting a decision from the GMB on his plea for berthing permission to dismantle the ship.
V.K. Gupta, president of the Ship Recyclers Association, said the vessel prima facie fulfilled the criteria laid down by the Supreme Court qualifying for breaking at Alang.
Environmental activists campaigning for turning the ship back have alleged that fake registration documents of the government of Kiribati had been furnished and that the vessel lacked a national flag.
Originally the US vessel SS Independence, it later became the SS Oceanic before becoming the Platinum II.
While the environmental group, Indian Platform on Ship Breaking (IPOS), seeks the recall of the ship by the US government - as the French did with Le Clemenceau - the Gujarat environment department authorities have said that facilities for the disposal of hazardous substances already exists in keeping with Supreme Court guidelines at a special earmarked site.
FAIR USE NOTICE. This document contains copyrighted material whose use has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. The Basel Action Network is making this article available in our efforts to advance understanding of ecological sustainability and environmental justice issues. We believe that this constitutes a 'fair use' of the copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. If you wish to use this copyrighted material for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.