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

26/11/2009

Who Owns Platinum II (SS Oceanic, SS Independence)

Komal Kant Sharma, the owner of Leela Ship Recycling Pvt Ltd had offered to buy the convicted and dead US ship Platinum II (SS Oceanic, SS Independence) for $4.85 million and he was awaiting various clearances before making the payment. The ship still had a US flag painted on its chimney. Now Sharma says, “I have now told my agent about my rethink on buying the ship and it is up to the present owner to decide on its fate.”

Mr Vishnu Kumar Gupta, President, Alang Ship Recycling Industries Association, Bhavnagar notes that there is controversy over ownership. The Republic of Kiribati, where the ship was claimed to be registered has clarified that the papers filed with Indian authorities by the ship-owners were fake.

In 1951, the 18,500-tonne ship, originally known as SS Independence and then SS Oceanic, registered in the US, underwent many changes until it surfaced as Platinum II. In September 2009, it was reportedly registered in the Republic of Kiribati, an island-nation in the Pacific Ocean, in the name of Platinum Investment Services Corporation, Liberia. The US Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) had levied penalties of $518,500 against Global Shipping LLC and its affiliate Global Shipping Marketing Systems Inc for ‘exporting’ the controversial ship for disposal outside the US, in violation of various laws. In February 2008, it was towed out of US territorial waters. When it anchored off Gopnath, 40 nautical miles from Alang coast, on October 7, 2009.

The central government has asked Gujarat Maritime Board to probe allegations that the ship had been brought into India with a falsified flag and registry, the environmental groups are demanding an inquiry Central Bureau of Investigation because GMB does not have the competence to deal with cases of fraudulent and criminal misrepresentation.

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