The Centre on Monday asked the Gujarat government not to allow dismantling of the U.S. ship Platinum-II at Alang for violating the United States Toxic Substance Control Act for which the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) has already passed an order against the owners of the ship.
A notification issued by the Ministry of Environment and Forests issued here said it had been brought to its notice that the ship had been brought into India on a “falsified flag and registry.” It asked the Gujarat Maritime Board to investigate the matter, and keep the Centre informed.
Given the facts and in keeping with the “precautionary principle,” the Ministry was of the view that granting permission for beaching and breaking purposes may not be advisable, the notification said.
The ship came into Indian waters last month and a Central team was constituted to ascertain whether Platinum-II was a warship carrying radioactive and toxic substance, as alleged by the Indian Platform on Shipbreaking.
In its October 26 report, the Central team concluded that the ship contained toxic materials but was not a warship as alleged.
However, the Indian Platform on Shipbreaking subsequently provided the Ministry with the USEPA order, following which the permission for dismantling was denied.
Gopal Krishna, convenor of the Indian Platform on Shipbreaking, said it was noteworthy that the latest Ministry of Environment and Forests order was issued taking cognisance of the USEPA order and the fake documents.
It sets an example by reinforcing the French ship ‘Le Clemenceau’ precedent wherein the Supreme Court had stopped its entry into Indian waters. The U.S. ship will have to follow the same path, the statement said.
“It is noteworthy that the order categorically states that it had been passed with the approval of Minister of State, Environment and Forests, Jairam Ramesh. This considered step of the Minister has vindicated the trust reposed in him by the environmental groups. He [Mr. Ramesh] has demonstrated that he would not let any agency compromise with the security of our environmental borders,” Mr. Krishna said.