Toxic ship cannot beach at Alang

By Ravleen Kaur
Published: Monday 30 November 2009

THE team of technical members deputed by the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (moef) to inspect the ship anchored near Alang in Gujarat found it had more asbestos than estimated by the Gujarat Pollution Control Board (gpcb) that gave it permission to anchor. Their report, submitted to the ministry, also confirmed the presence of polychlorinated biphenyls, a persistent toxic pollutant aboard Platinum II.

The report said the ship has 238 tonnes asbestos material; the gpcb had calculated it at 200 tonnes.

In view of the report, the ministry, in an order on November 9, said the ship cannot be given beaching permission for shipbreaking at Alang.Gopal Krishna of the Indian Platform on Shipbreaking, a coalition of non-profits, demanded the US origin ship be sent back as it violated the US law banning export of toxic substances. Whats more, the ships name was changed to hide its origin (see Alang awaits toxic ship, Down To Earth, November 15, 2009).

The report said the markings on the ships chimney proved it was a US origin ship. It was last registered in Kiribati, an island nation in the Pacific. An email from the Kiribati ship registry to the non-profit, Basel Action Network, said Platinum II never registered with them. The moef has asked the Gujarat Maritime Board to probe this.

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