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Prime minister to call shots on Platinum II

New Delhi: The fate of the erstwhile US warship, Platinum II, is now in the hands of the prime minister. His office is considering whether the radioactive substance-laden ship should be allowed to enter the shipbreaking yards in the country or be asked to leave. The Platinum II is at present anchored off Gopnath point, approximately 40 nautical miles from Alang coast in Gujarat.

Though the environment minister gave marching orders to the ship, the director of the hazardous substances management division of the ministry of environment & forests, Subba Rao, wrote a letter to a campaigner saying that the ministry of steel is the nodal agency for ship-breaking activities in the country, implying that the environment ministry has no role in preventing toxic ships. Dr Rao’s defiant letter to Gopal Krishna, who is spearheading a campaign to keep the shipbreaking industry under judicial watch, results in the PMO’s involvement.

Now, Krishna has urged PM to order the return of Platinum II. He says the lack of promptness in forcing Platinum-II to leave the Indian shores violates American law, UN law, the Indian Supreme Court order and the environment ministry’s directions. It’s time for the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Ship Breaking and Environment to see through these corporate veils created by shipping companies and stand up for the environment, Krishna tells the PM.

The incident is reminiscent of French aircraft carrier Le Clemenceau, which was sent by France to India for breaking. However, French courts realised that the export was a violation of the Basel Convention and demanded its return.

The arrival of Platinum II made India an international crime scene, and the US Maritime Administration (MARAD) abetted the crime. The last time something like this happened, the exporting country recalled the ship and took responsibility.

Rakesh Bhatnagar / DNA
Sunday, January 3, 2010
The politics over the toxic ship, Platinum II is getting murkier. NewsX has learnt that ship is all set to be dismantled at the anchorage point in Bhavnagar, Gujarat.
After waiting for more than 15 days, the central team has finally submitted its report on US toxic ship Platinum II and officially confirmed that ship has toxin on board.
MARAD facilitated fugitive toxic ship sale? US agency, Maritime Administration (MARAD) abets the environmental crime. A new report says the ship carries no toxic waste in loose form, which experts have termed vague and a deliberate attempt to hide realities.

Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh explained the government stand on the controversial toxic ship after the Newx broke the story.

The toxic US ship Platinum II has triggered a wave of protest among political parties. Leaders are demanding the recall of the ship, even as there are reports that it could sink.

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