A three-member team from the Central government on Tuesday began inspection of the ship Platinum II, allegedly carrying hazardous toxic and radioactive substance, near Alang in Bhavnagar district, Gujarat Maritime Board (GMB) officials said.
The team consists of senior advisor from the ministry of steel, Dr S A Hussain head of the Radiology safety Division, AERB (Atomic Regulatory Board), officers from the environment ministry, who are also accompanied by GMB officials, they said.
According to sources, the team set off for inspection early in the morning as the Platinum II is anchored near Gopnath, some 40 nautical miles from the Alang coast.
The team members also ruled out any leakage in the ship, as alleged by its owner Komalkant Sharma of Leela Shipbreaking Ltd on Monday.
“There is absolutely no leakage in the ship. Our inspection is still on,” one of the central government team members told PTI.
Mr. Sharma had claimed on Monday that there were cracks in the bottom of the ship because of which the water had started entering it during high tide.
He had further alleged that he has written to the GMB about the issue, but there was no action from them.
The Central team is here as part of the inquiry ordered by the Union Environment Minister Jayram Ramesh last week after Indian Platform on Ship-breaking (IPOS), an NGO, alleged that Platinum-II (previously known as S S Independence and S S Oceanic) was loaded with toxic polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) along with radioactive substances.
Indian Platform on Shipbreaking (IPOS) had also alleged that Platinum-II had breached security and entered Indian waters illegally.
It further claimed that the Platinum-II is loaded with an estimated 210 tons of toxic polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) contaminated material and an estimated 250 tons of asbestos as part of its construction.”
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) fined the owners of Platinum-II (then known as SS Oceanic), Global Shipping LLC and Global Marketing Systems for alleged illegal distribution and export of a PCB-containing ship in January 2009, IOPS had calimed.
The companies were made to pay a total of $ 5,18,500 to resolve the two Toxic Substances Control Act violations.
PCB is a persistent toxic pollutant used in paints, insulation and gasketry in older ships.