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Letter to Environment Minister


The Union Environment Minister
Government of India

Dear Sir,

This is to put on record my deep appreciation for the efforts put at your end in deciding the case of dumping of dead US toxic ship Platinum II (SS Oceanic, SS Independence) in Indian waters at Gujarat's Bhavnagar coast. The consistent follow up at your end has ensured that the valued principles of environment has been protected. These endeavours have restored the exemplary precedent set by our Supreme Court in the Le Clemenceau, the French ship matter.

Your order has re-established precautionary principles which were eroded earlier by the previous regime under the negative influence of some officials.

Notably, there has been a major change in Gujrat Maritime Board. Atanu Chakraborty, Vice Chairman & Executive Officer of Gujarat Maritime Board (GMB) has been transferred and B K Sinha is new Principal Secretary (PS) of Ports & Transport department replacing H K Dash. I think its a fall out of the order from the Environment Ministry. Besides IANS, a news agency has issued a release today suggesting that GMB has started a probe in the matter of dubious ownership of the dead US ship, Platinum II.

Your order has established that post September 6, 2007 order of the Supreme Court, the post of registry of most of some 200 ships have not been properly investigated before desk clearance. It creates a compelling logic to do so now both with regard to previous ships and any new ship in future. I think there is a need to hand over the probe to the Central Bureau of Investigation. There is a need for ordering the investigation of the port of registry of all the dead ships that came at Alang after the somewaht ambiguous order of the Supreme Court dated September 6, 2007 and September 11, 2007 (apparently undermining the order of 14th October, 2003).

Earlier, the intelligence reports had mentioned that the GMB regulations seem to allow dead ships innocent passage through the entire stretch of Indian waters unscrutinized by the security agencies. Besides environmental security, maritime security, national security also seems to be a casualty. The minutes of the Inter-ministerial committee on shipbreaking (constituted by the Supreme Court) refers to security threats from the Alang based industry. It merits your attention as well.

You have given an unequivocal message that you would not let any agency compromise with the security of our environmental borders.

thanks & regards
Gopal Krishna

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