American cruise ship, formerly the SS Oceanic Independence, now Platinum-II. Inquiries are under way into the circumstances under which the asbestos-laden vessel was granted entry into Indian waters. Photo: Jonathan Haeber
Monday, February 15, 2010
Rakesh Bhatnagar / DNA
Platinum-II, which lies anchored at the Alang shipbreaking yard off Bhavnagar, Gujarat, is considered an extremely toxic ship. The Union ministry of environment and forests had ordered GMB in November 2009 not to allow the Platinum-II into Alang as its nationality, originality, and registration were suspect.
The central government has told the authorities to investigate how Platinum-II was allowed to anchor at Alang despite orders from the Supreme Court and in violation of international covenants on keeping hazardous ships at bay.
Environmental activists have drawn the SC’s attention to what they claim are glaring lapses on GMB’s part in allowing the 208-metre long and 23,719 gross tonnage Platinum-II anchor at Alang at the behest of the politically powerful ship-breaking industry.
Incidentally, the US Environment Protection Agency had fined the Platinum-II’s last owners, Global Marketing Systems, $518,500 for exporting the ship for scrap without removing toxic substances on board such as asbestos.