This group tracks the responses of shipping industry towards environmental health concerns, highlights influence of shipping companies from EU, US and Japan etc on IMO and its Marine Environment Protection Committee & South Asian governments. It is keen to restore beaches in India, Bangladesh and Pakistan to their pristine glory for the coming generations. For more information visit: www.toxicswatch.org, banasbestosindia.blogspot.com

06/11/2009

Fake Documents submitted to Central Committee on Platinum II, US ship

To

Mr Jairam Ramesh
Union Minister for Environment & Forests
New Delhi

Subject-Fake Documents submitted to Central Committee on Platinum II, US ship

Dear Sir,

We now know that the registry of the Platinum II (formerly Oceanic, Independence) has been falsified. Please find the original sample of the registry document and the fake document attached.

The official registry of Kiribati has stated in writing that the paper filed with Indian authorities is fake. (I have sent their written response to the ministry officials). The real registry therefore is US. The reason this has happened is:

a) they believed they could get away with this.
b) they did not want to notifiy and get permission from the US to reflag because it is known that US requires Maritime Administration (MARAD) approval for any reflagging for scrap purposes

It is clear that two laws have been violated. The US Maritime Law and likely Indian Maritime Law. It must be illegal for a ship to be brought into India with a falsified flag and registry.

Please see the correspondence below between Liau Siew Leng
Operation Manager, Kiribati Ship Registry, Singapore and Colby Self of Basel Action Network, the US based organisation (www.ban.org) on whose complaint the ship in question was convicted by the USEPA to reach your own inference. The same USEPA which is the model for the proposed National Environment Protection Agency.

The USEPA order dated 28 January, 2009 available at http://www.ban.org/Library/Global_CAFO.pdf that has barred the ship Platinum II (formerly SS Oceanic, SS Independence) from leaving US waters for scrapping of the ship. If this order is to be followed then and even as per Indian law the ship must be sent back to US in the same way as the French ship Le Clemenceau.

The USEPA statement dated 29th January, 2009 on the conviction of the ship is available at http://yosemite.epa.gov/opa/admpress.nsf/ab2d81eb088f4a7e85257359003f5339/8e2829ba962e93528525754d0061d10c!OpenDocument

What is quite glaring is the motivated connivance on the part of the US Maritime Administration.
The worst fears of environmentalists and human rights acitvists have been confirmed as it has been discovered this month that an aging American ocean liner, the SS Oceanic (formerly SS Independence), one believed to contain significant quantities of asbestos and toxic PCB chemicals in its structure, has now arrived in Indian waters with a new name – Platinum II. The ship will be scrapped in contravention of US and international law unless government action on the part of US and Indian authorities is taken as a matter of urgency.

The Oceanic made headlines in 2008 when its former owners, Global Shipping LLC (GSL) and Global Marketing Systems Inc. (GMS) (both of Maryland and part of the Mr. Anil Sharma family’s shipbreaking, cashbuying and brokerage interests), were charged by the US government with illegal export of PCBs for disposal and use in commerce under the Toxics Substances Control Act (TSCA).

The EPA acted after the Basel Action Network (BAN) warned that the ship was likely to be carrying PCBs and was known to be headed for the scrapping beaches of South Asia. To avoid a court case to contest this charge, the former owners paid over one half million dollars as a settlement. After EPA pressed charges, the owners denied that the ship was going to be sent for breaking on the beaches of South Asia as the EPA and environmental groups feared and instead claimed it was to be reused as a ship by its new owners.

US law exists to protect other countries from the scourge of toxic PCBs, and yet we continually fail to diligently enforce these laws. It is clear now that the government made a terrible mistake in letting this ship sail away. It is now incumbent on the administration to do everything in its power to require India to repatriate the ship for proper toxic waste management as the law requires.

Meanwhile, BAN has learned that the Maritime Administration (MARAD) aided and abetted the escape of the ship to a foreign jurisdiction by approving the sale of the vessel to a foreign buyer while the EPA was taking legal action against the owners. MARAD sent a letter to GSL in June 2008 offering support for the foreign transfer of the ship to Platinum Investment Services Corp. based in Monrovia, Liberia. Platinum Investment Services appears to be a “mailbox company”: under Liberian law, a company may register without publicly revealing an address, any principle owners, board members or spokespersons of any kind. The company has no office, no website and has no known history of ship operations. It is likely that MARAD’s authorization of the sale of the ship hampered the EPA’s own legal efforts to demand the ship be returned for proper testing and remediation.

In India, the ship’s arrival violates the Basel Convention to which India is a Party. Under that United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) treaty, India is not allowed to receive hazardous waste from the United States. Nor can it receive hazardous waste from any foreign source without prior notification of arrival and consent from the Indian government. No such notification or consent was provided in advance of the sudden arrival of the toxic ship. Further, the ship's arrival violated the Supreme Court of India’s order of 14th October 2003 and 6th September 2007, which calls for the pre-cleaning of ships of all toxic substances prior to importation.

The incident is reminiscent of the infamous export of the French Aircraft Carrier Le Clemenceau, which in 2006 was exported to India for breaking from France. French courts finally realized the export was a violation of the Basel Convention and demanded the return of the ship.

The Oceanic's arrival off the Gujarat beaches makes India an international crime scene, with the Maritime Administration abetting such crimes. The last time something like this happened, the authorities of the exporting country called the ship back and took responsibility. We are calling on the authorities of India and the US to do nothing less.
The Platinum II now rests at anchorage off Gopnath point approximately 40 nautical miles from the Alang coast while Indian state authorities decide her fate. GMS denies any ownership of the vessel or of the mystery firm Platinum Investment Services Corp.

I would be glad to share for details.

Warm Regards
Gopal Krishna
Indian Platform on Shipbreaking
New Delhi
Mb: 9818089660
Skype id: witnesskrishna
E-mail: krishnagreen@gmail.com
Blog: imowatch.blogspot.com


---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Liau Siew Leng
Date: Thu, Nov 5, 2009 at 8:43 PM
Subject: Registry Inquiry: Urgent
To: Colby Self
Cc: "Info (KSR)"


Dear Mr Colby Self,

The Kiribati Ship Registry confirmed that your attached Provisional Registry
Certificate of Platinum II is definitely not issued by Kiribati Ship
Registry.

The Ministry of Communications, Transport & Tourism Development, Government
of Kiribati further confirmed that the attached Platinum II certificate is
definitely a fake certificate.

Perhaps, you can request the Indian authorities to contact us to investigate
into this matter.

We attach herewith a sample of genuine certificate from Kiribati Ship
Registry for you guidance.

Best regards
Liau Siew Leng
Operation Manager
Kiribati Ship Registry
10 Anson Road
#25-02 International Plaza
Singapore 079903
Tel: +65 6225 0555
Fax: +65 6225 0550
Email: info@kiribaship.com
Website: www.kiribaship.com




______________________________
__________
From: Colby Self [mailto:colby.self@gmail.com]
Sent: Friday, November 06, 2009 4:21 AM
To: Liau Siew Leng
Cc: info@kiribaship.com
Subject: Re: Registry Inquiry: Urgent

Lia Siew Leng,

Thank you for your response of October 26. Indian authorities have been told
by the owners of this vessel that it is under Kiribati Registry. Indian
authorities have approved the vessel for beaching and breaking in Alang,
India under the Kiribati Registry assumption. Please see attached documents
that were extracted from a report from the Central Technical Team in India.
Can you confirm the accuracy of these Kiribati registration claims, or does
the registration document appear to be falsified.

Your prompt response is much appreciated.

Regards,

Colby Self
Basel Action Network
206.250.5652
On Mon, Oct 26, 2009 at 8:15 PM, Liau Siew Leng wrote:
Dear Mr Colby Self,
Kindly be advised the vessel Platinum II or D.V. Platinum II (IMO number
5160180) is never registered
under Kiribati Ship Registry.

Would appreciate you can investigate further to find out the true facts and
keep us informed.

Best regards
Liau Siew Leng
Operation Manager
Kiribati Ship Registry
10 Anson Road
#25-02 International Plaza
Singapore 079903
Tel: +65 6225 0555
Fax: +65 6225 0550
Email: info@kiribaship.com
Website: www.kiribaship.com




______________________________ __________
From: Colby Self [mailto:colby.self@gmail.com]
Sent: Friday, October 16, 2009 10:40 AM
To: info@kiribaship.com
Subject: Registry Inquiry

Ms. Reenaugh,

I am writing to inquire about a former U.S. flagged vessel called the
Oceanic (IMO# 5160180) that is said to be reflagged under Kiribati registry
as of September 30, 2009 under the name Platinum II or D.V. Platinum II. Can
you inform me on whether this vessel is indeed under Kiribati registry?

Kind regards,

Colby Self
Basel Action Network

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