Even as the controversial “Platinum II” ship continued to remain anchored in the high seas waiting for permission to beach at Alang off the Saurashtra coast in Gujarat for dismantling, the Gujarat Pollution Control Board has claimed that there was nothing much “hazardous” in the ship that was beyond the control of the ship-breaking yard.
A five-member team of the GPCB, which inspected the ship , in its report said the ship contained just about 20 tonnes of Polychlorinated Biphenyl (PCB), a highly toxic substance and another about 210 tonnes of asbestos-containing materials.
Convenor of the Indian Platform on Ship-Breaking, Gopal Krishna, who brought to the notice of the State authorities and the Union Environment Ministry about the stealthy movement of the ship towards Alang for dismantling, claimed that the ship contained over 200 tonnes of PCB and 210 tonnes of asbestos.
The Gujarat Maritime Board, the official agency to regulate movement of the ships, has made it clear that the permission to the ship for beaching would be given only after the clearance from the Central government. The State authorities could not comment on the reaction of the Centre on the GPCB’s report and said they would wait for the nod from Delhi before allowing the ship to come to Alang for dismantling.
A spokesman of GPCB, however, said the facilities had already been created at the Alang ship-breaking under the guidelines issued by the Supreme Court for handling much larger quantity of PCB and asbestos than found on the Platinum II.
But the dubious movement of the ship coming to Alang without permission of the concerned State and Central authorities and under an assumed name, also believed to be based on fake documents, raised questions about its contents and other issues.