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Dead US ship Platinum II has a Greek Owner?
Dead US ship Platinum II has a Greek Owner?
Almost two months have passed since the environment ministry's order to stop beaching and breaking of the dead and hazardous US ship but Gujarat Martime Board (GMB) has chosen to ignore its order. Curiously, it has now emerged that US ship Platinum II (SS Oceanic, SS Independence) has a Greek Owner. The evidence of the same is attached. Mr Dimitris Koukas, President/Director of Platinum Investment Services, and also Managing Director of Optima Shipbrokers Ltd. He is also listed as a business “reference” on GMS’ website.
Notably, this was not revealed to the Central Inspection Panel that established the hazardous nature of the ship but did not inquire into the circumstances of the dead ship's arrival with the help of two tug boats and the violation of the US, Indian and UN laws. The fate of the whereabouts of the two tug boats is also not known.
In its order on US Ship "Platinum -II (formerly SS Oceanic, SS Independence) dated 9th November, 2009, the Indian Ministry of Environment and Forests (MOEF) http://moef.nic.in/downloads/public-information/Office%20Memorandum_ship.pdf has cited the precautionary principle and the fact that the ship not only appeared to arrive in India with false documentation but also the fact that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) took legal action against Global Marketing Services (GMS) and sister company Global Shipping LLC (GSL), both companies set up by Mr. Anil Sharma, for exporting the ship from San Francisco, California in 2008 in violation of the U.S. Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).
Later, Komalkant Sharma of Leela Ship Recycling Pvt Ltd had offered to buy the decommissioned ship for USD 4.85 million which is now being defined as a wreck. But the present owner Dimitris Koukas, President/Director of Platinum Investment Services, a business “reference” of GMS is yet to be tried for fraudulent misrepresentation and forgery of documents to enable a dead US ship to be transferred to India by violating the US law, Indian laws and UN laws by cultivating Indian officials of easy virtue.
The Platinum II arrived in Indian waters for scrapping on 8 October 2009 with papers saying its flag was that of the Republic of Kiribati and that it was owned by Platinum Investment Services of Monrovia, Liberia. We later received official confirmation from the Operations Manager at Kiribati Ship Registry, Liau Siew Leng, that the registration was a forgery. The Kiribati Ministry of Communications, Transport & Tourism Development Office further confirmed the falsified documents. The fraudulent ship registry is likely a violation of maritime law of the United States, India and Kiribati.
The United States Maritime Administration (MARAD) allowed the vessel to be sold to a non-citizen in April 2008 under the blanket approval in 46 C.F.R. 221.13. This general approval however did not grant approval for the sale of the vessel for scrapping in a foreign country. The vessel remains under the US flag and cannot be scrapped without MARAD’s approval. It is suspected that avoidance of US government scrutiny and denial of reflag permission for the purposes of scrapping is the rationale for the falsified re-registration.
Now Shiv Ship Breaking Company is reported to be the new player in the case of US dead ship Platinum II (SS Oceanic, SS Independence). This new company in question works at Plot No. 36 in Alang with its office in S/10, Surya Darshan Complex, Rubber Factory Circle, Bhavnagar-364 001. Its contact numbers are as under: Tele: (O) (0278)2511211, (W) (02842)235510 (R) 2428397, Fax: 2426050, E-Mail :firstname.lastname@example.org, Contact Person: Hareshbhai Parmar (9825018111) & Ramesh Menddarpara (9825205133).
It is being claimed that no permission is required for breaking of a wreck ship. This claim by Gujarat Martime Board (GMB) makes a mockery of the authority of environment ministry and its order seeking adherence to precautionary principle, compliance with USEPA order and probe into fake documents for the advantage of US based ship owners.
In a rare gesture shipbreaking industry has joined hands with and environmental groups to seek inquiry into forgery of documents to stop and prevent such breach of national security and make our environmental borders vulnerable to hitherto unforeseen threats.
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