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

15/06/2011

MV Wisdom to Repeat Platinum II Act?

Reliable sources have revealed that the cashbuyer (current unofficial owner) of MV Wisdom is one Mr Gupta and the buyer is one Mr Bansal. Both are involved in ship-breaking at Alang beach, Bhavnagar, Gujarat.

There are two possibilities being discussed with regard to MV Wisdom. One, it has been purchased at Alang delivery. This implies that the responsibility is of the original owner. Two, this ship under tow has been sold on a "as is where is basis". It means ship was sold at Colombo delivery where it was lying for a while.

One does not know whether the vessel has been fully insured?

Sources feel that a senior officer in the Union Ministry of Shipping who is quite familiar with the Alang ship breaking activities plans to repeat his act which he successfully attempted in the case of end-of-life hazardous US ship Platinum II (SS Independence, MV Oceanic). Platinum II outwitted Union Minister for Environment's official memorandum that denied it the beaching permission under the guidance of this very official. It was this official who was the ghost writer of the letter that was sent to the Union Environmet & Forests Ministry.

In 2009 MV Oceanic (renamed Platinum II) departed Dubai for Alang, being towed by a tug Barakhoda. The tug apparently lost all power and setting the two vessels adrift some 25 km off Alang. Another tug was sent to assist Barakhoda and her crew of nine.

In October 2009, documentary proof of fake certificates emerged about the "SS Platinum-II" following efforts by ToxicsWatch Alliance (TWA). Indian Environment Ministry acted following TWA's complaint taking note of falsified papers in order to evade legal regulations.

Sadly, the Ministry of Environment and Forests intervened too late amid TWA's demand that the ship be returned to the U.S. for being illegally exported.

Platinum II was abandoned at Gopnath, Bhavnagar in a region south of the Alang on the Gujarat coast. Platinum II was laying off shore with guards on board to protect the ship from looting and vandals.

There were planted news reports of the hull being cracked (an unsubstantiated charge made by the ship's owners to urge the Gujarat Maritime Board to allow the ship to be beached in November).

After running aground in February 2010 mud had made it into Platinum II's cracked hull. In later news reports from India claimed the ship, aground and abandoned at Gopnath, some ten miles south of Alang, was beginning to suffer structural cracks and that it would never be able to move from her current resting place.

In March 2010 the vessel's hull cracked aft of the accommodation (roughly at one third of the length from the aft) and the whole hull was lying at an angle of about 35 degrees.

The case of dead US ship Platinum II merits high level probe else it has set a precedent that is all set to be repeated time and time again with the connivance of senior officials. MV Wisdom case seems to be a illustrative case.

It has been reported that this dead vessel was under investigation by the Gujarati anti-terrorist unit for smuggling radioactive, hazardous, and toxic waste to organized crime. There were also news reports that this ships was looted in May-June 2010. TWA demands a intelligence probe in the matter of Platinum II, MV Wisdom and some 120 vessels currently lying on the Alang beach as if the beach has been outsourced to ship owning developed countries from US, Europe, Japan etc.

Toxic ships are being dumped in India

MUMBAI: Discarded cargo vessel MV Wisdom that has run aground at Juhu beach has alarmed environmental groups which have demanded strict norms to prevent such ships from being dumped in Indian waters.

NGO ToxicWatch Alliance (TWA) has demanded that no ship under tow should be allowed to enter Indian waters between May 15 and August 15 due to inclement weather at that time.

Gopal Krishna, convener of TWA, said, "I suspect MV Wisdom was deliberately sent to affect the security of Indian ports. Many a time the monsoon is used as an excuse to dump condemned vessels in Indian waters."

He said transnational shipping companies are trying to turn most of the condemned vessels into under-tow vessels which are quite risky for Indian navigation.

Krishna said, "No ship, whether for dismantling or for shipping, should be allowed in Indian waters without the name of port of registry, name and address of shipowner, International Maritime Organisation (IMO) registered owner identification number and IMO company identification number. Unless this is done, no seller will be traceable."

TWA demanded that before allowing the salvage operation, the documents of ownership of the vessel must be verified by the Directorate General of Shipping, as the Customs expressed inability to verify the genuineness of these documents as per the report of the standing monitoring committee of the ministry of environment and forests.

He said as per the Supreme Court order dated October 2003, the authorities should check whether the ship had been decontaminated prior to its export. Krishna said, "The vessel should not be allowed to be dismantled where it is grounded."

The Singapore-flagged, MV Wisdom was towed by Seabulk Plover from Colombo to the Alang ship-breaking yard in Gujarat.

On June 11, its towing cable snapped and the cargo vessel drifted towards the Bandra Worli Sea Link (BWSL) before running aground at Juhu beach.

Debi Goenka of the Conservation Action Trust said, "The authorities should ensure that they are able to tow away the ship intact. Since the ship was discarded, it did not have fuel in its tanks, but there is always a fear of residual oil and sludge being present that can contaminate the coastal waters and marine life."

Manthan K Mehta,
The Times of India
Jun 15, 2011

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/mumbai/Toxic-ships-are-being-dumped-in-India-NGO/articleshow/8857313.cms

No pollution threat off Mumbai coast from stranded ship: Vasan
Jun 14,2011

Hyderabad, Jun 14 (PTI) Government today said there was no threat either of pollution or damage to Bandra-Worli Sealink due to the stranded merchant ship off Mumbai.However, the Directorate General (Shipping) and Coast Guard are monitoring the situation closely as the salvage team is unable to board the ship because of bad weather, Union Minister for Shipping G K Vasan said. "There is no threat of pollution or threat to the Sealink. It is an empty ship without any cargo or bunkers," the minister told reporters after attending the 13th Maritime States Development Council Meeting here.

The 175m-long and a 10,000 DWT vessel cargo ship M V Wisdom, which was being towed away by foreign merchant vessel `Seabulk Plover' to Alang from Colombo for scrap, drifted towards Mumbai coast on June 11 after the rope broke due to bad weather. The Minister said the Directorate General of Shipping is closely monitoring the situation and has engaged M/s SMIT, a salvage firm to asses the situation.

"Directorate General (Shipping) and Coast Guard are monitoring the situation closely. The SMIT team is not able to board the ship because of bad weather. Efforts are being made to board the ship from helicopter and to explore the possibility of refloating it," Vasan said. According to media reports, MV Wisdom had drifted dangerously close to the Bandra-Worli Sealink and there was a threat of it hitting the pillars of the iconic structure. PTI

Grounded ship: Will Wisdom prevail?
By Pandurang Mhaske
Mumbai |
MV Wisdom will be grounded at Juhu beach for at least a month, before being towed away for disposal, according to sources in the directorate general of shipping.

They said that there is a strong possibility of the ship being towed away rather being dismantled in situ. During this period, they hope the imminent high tides will allow smaller vessels or tug it or come closer to the shore and take away the 16,000 tonne ship.

Meanwhile, the Coast Guard is putting pressure to take appropriate action against the vessel owner and fix the responsibility of disposal on them.

According to Maritime laws, the ship can be stranded without permission at one place for a certain period only, after which DG Shipping can initiate action against the owner. “The owners of MV Wisdom have been informed by the authorities to arrange for professional salvers to move the ship from Juhu Beach” an officer from DG Shipping said.

Mumbai Police has been asked to investigate the matter and identify the crew members of the vessels. The task has been assigned to Yellow Gate police. The police station has registered a complaint against the owners of MV Wisdom and the tug vessel and an inquiry is underway. The police are investigating how and why the vessel got stranded on Juhu Beach.

“There are possibilities of the captain and the crew of tug MV Seabulk Plover being arrested in the coming days,” said Chandrakant Naik, senior police inspector of Yellow Gate police station.

In all, the crew of the tug consists of 15 members, most of whom are Russian nationals, while one is from Ghana.

MV Wisdom had lost its tow, MV Seabulk Plover, on Saturday afternoon and had drifted towards Mumbai. There was a threat of it colliding with the iconic Bandra Worli Sea Link, but fortunately it ran aground at Juhu Beach by 7.30 pm.

http://www.dnaindia.com/mumbai/report_grounded-ship-will-wisdom-prevail_1555106

Officials can’t decide what to do with Wisdom

Yogesh Naik
June 14, 2011
The state government and various agencies are still groping in the dark as they try and deal with the question of what to do with MV Wisdom, the cargo ship that ran aground off Juhu beach.

The Director General of Shipping has issued a notice to the owners of MV Wisdom to remove the ship from Juhu beach.

“We have asked a salver to do a survey. The ship is stuck in the sand and not between rocks. It requires a few tugs with strong ropes,” said S D Agnihotri, director general of shipping. But the Coast Guard differs on how to remove the ship from the spot.

Coast Guard Regional Operations and Plans officer Arun Singh said, “The easiest and most cost effective way is to cut the ship with the help of professional salvers and take it away from here.”

In 1997, another ship, Zheng Dong, with nearly 250 metric tonnes of oil washed ashore off Carter Road. Some hoteliers had plans to convert it into a hotel, but locals opposed this and moved the High Court which ordered that it should be removed.

The removal of MV Wisdom is being looked after by DG Shipping and MbPT

The suburban collectorate at Bandra too had stepped in and issued notices to the owners not to set up a floatel or a hotel amidst mangroves.

This time, Collector Nirmal Deshmukh said that MV Wisdom could be pulled out of the sand using tugs. “Technology has improved since 1998 when the Zheng Dong was cut off at Bandra.”

However, the state environment department does not think the ship is a threat or could spark off an ecological disaster. “She has only four metric tonnes of oil. Besides, the removal of the ship is being looked after by the DG Shipping and Mumbai Port Trust,” said a senior government officer.

There have been no meetings at the state level to tackle the problem, though Juhu residents have registered protests. “The place has turned into a sightseeing spot. But we will not allow the salvers to break the ship at Juhu beach. We dont want to turn the beach into the Alang shipbreaking yard,” said Adolf D’Souza, corporator from Juhu.

The 9,000 tonne vessel was being towed from Colombo to Alang when the cables connecting it to the tug MV Seabulk Plover broke.

http://www.mumbaimirror.com/article/2/2011061420110614022029453649d0dbc/Officials-can%E2%80%99t-decide-what-to-do-with-Wisdom.html

The MV Wisdom fiasco: The story gets murkier and murkier
June 14, 2011
Veeresh Malik
The mystery behind what the 36-year-old Anchor Handling Tug (AHTS) Seabulk Plover, with the 26-year-old container ship MV Wisdom, due for scrapping, was actually doing along the Indian coast for almost two weeks before the container ship landed up on the beach off Juhu, now begins to deepen

Yesterday, we had questioned why container ship MV Wisdom, which was being towed to the Alang junk yard, obtained permission to sail so close to the Mumbai coast and the sensitive Bombay High oil installation. (Why was the MV Wisdom allowed to get so near the Bandra-Worli Sea Link? ).

First of all, here are some facts, as known, and re-verified:

http://www.marinetraffic.com/ais/shipdetails.aspx?MMSI=376054000

SEA PLOVER
Vessel's Details
Ship Type: Tug
Year Built: 1975
Length x Breadth: 66mx13m
Deadweight: 759 tonnes
Speed recorded (Max /Average): 10/ 9 knots
Flag: St Vincent Grenadines [VC]
Call Sign: J8SE
IMO: 7401332, MMSI: 376054000

Last Position Received
Area: Indian Ocean
Latitude / Longitude: 6.797163° / 79.62228° (Map)
Currently in Port:
Last Known Port:
Info Received: 14d 17h 59min 48s ago
Not Currently in Range
Itineraries History
________________________________________
Voyage Related Info (Last Received)
Draught: 4.8 m
Destination: COCHIN
ETA: 2011-05-31 07:30
Info Received: 2011-05-30 09:56 (14d, 20h 22min 2s ago)

Translated, that means the tug-tow combo was off Colombo for days, till around forenoon on 30th May. After that, the combo set course towards India, but more importantly and interestingly, simply stopped updating her positions anymore. Why was she hanging around outside Colombo, if her sale to the Alang breakers had already been decided months ago? Yes, the reasons could have been commercial, but with the monsoon breaking, it would have made more sense to move on towards the eventual destination-just ahead of the really bad weather.

Incidentally, that "000" in her MMSI (Maritime Mobile Service Identity, or the satellite communication identity) number means that she had some very powerful radio equipment onboard, as well as qualified specialist radio operators, not uncommon for tugs of her sort-but also in no uncertain way making it very clear that people onboard knew what reporting they were supposed to make, and had the equipment to do so too. No excuses on this account. It would be very interesting to get hold of a log of her normal communications, which by rights would have been monitored in not just India but at multiple stations worldwide. And copies retained onboard. Unless destroyed. Which is also known to happen.

Here are some details from this site: http://www.marinetraffic.com/ais/datasheet.aspx?datasource=ITINERARIES&MMSI=376054000

Daily Vessel's Itineraries

The update on positions comes to an abrupt end on the 30th of May.

This business of updating positions is directly related also to the vessel's identification signals broadcast all the time, as a regulation, and especially when within territorial waters or close to traffic lanes. That the Seabulk Plover & Wisdom were not doing so would have been noticed by any ship or coast station. Such a huge target, especially a ship in ballast and riding high, would be easily visible from a coast radar station for a distance of over 100km-120km and from other ships for a distance of around at least 50km, if not more. And not providing identity signals would have been observed by any of the many naval and civil station en route. What action did any of them take?

Now the question arises: did none of them relay information to anybody about an unknown tug-tow combo on the high seas without their AIS (Automatic Identification System) on? Or was there something else? Yes, ships are known to switch off their AIS as well as other identity signals, especially if they are in high-piracy areas, because in such cases it is a part of the anti-piracy measures. But they do not switch off their AIS along the areas with heavy traffic, like the Indian coast. And not if challenged by the authorities over radio-on comes the identity signal transmission, otherwise one of those many Coast Guard or Navy planes or choppers is supposed to investigate.

The next surprise is that on departing Colombo, the tug & tow combo gave their destination as "Cochin", but records available online do not show them as having visited Cochin Port. Certainly, it is possible that they did not enter the port, and simply steamed past slowly or they may have even stopped for stores and supplies-but then, did they report themselves to the Maritime authorities? This information is not available on the Cochin Port Trust website anymore.

Likewise, there is no report of any such report being made while passing Mangalore or Mormugao, the other two big ports en route. The Mumbai Port Trust website, likewise, does not show anything. It is likely, however, that they may have made their reports to these ports as they steamed past, and this information is simply not updated in the public domain, unlike in the rest of the world.

Here's what the existing rules, circulars and notices say. The last one issued by the DG (Directorate General) of Shipping on the subject of tugs and tows in Indian territorial waters is dated-it goes back to 1974. The world has changed since then, but our authorities have not bothered to update things, which, very simply, would require any ship under tow as well as the towing vessel to jointly and separately report to the coastal state, in this case India, in whose territorial waters they are entering.

All that is needed is a simple "Notice to Mariners", to start with, which instructs all special category ships entering Indian territorial waters to report in to the authorities, and then follow instructions, or stay clear. Something like this is done, for example, when testing rockets and missiles, even over international waters-and people on ships follow these notices and rules. It is as simple as that. It is done all the time.

Here are a few related links:

http://www.dgshipping.com/dgship/final/notices/casualty3_05.htm

http://www.dgshipping.com/dgship/final/rules/wreck_salvages_1974.htm

http://www.dgshipping.com/dgship/final/notices/casualty23_09.htm

Yes, all vessels are entitled to the right of free and innocent passage through territorial waters. Submarines have to do so on the surface, warships of other countries have certain protocol, nuclear ships and merchant ships carrying certain types of cargo have to follow certain specific guidelines. That is what it has been like for decades, and nobody is challenging that, especially if the foreign ships are "seaworthy".

However, in this case, the ship under tow is not seaworthy. And there, the freedom of the seas and rights of innocent passage through our territorial waters come to a grinding halt.

The DG Shipping has to answer, in the first instance, why this has not been done all these years. Everything else will follow.

(Veeresh Malik is a qualified mariner and writer. He is also consulting editor with Sailor Today).

http://www.moneylife.in/article/the-mv-wisdom-fiasco-the-story-gets-murkier-and-murkier/17274.html


Why was the MV Wisdom allowed to get so near the Bandra-Worli Sea Link?
June 13, 2011

Did the container ship being towed to the Alang junk yard have permission to sail so close to the coast and sensitive Bombay High oil installation? Who plotted her course? And how come nobody interrupted her voyage

There is now a new landmark off the coast in Bandra, in suburban Mumbai, that joins another outside the Otters Club there, and the city should consider itself lucky that it did not float onto the signature Bandra-Worli Sea Link. It is the MV Wisdom, a 26-year-old container ship, which in the course of its lifecycle has been blessed with 14 name changes, and nobody knows how many owners.

As a matter of fact, the real beneficiary owner of the ship is still not known, at least not officially. Who the real owners and financiers of this ship are will, ofcourse, be known to all and sundry in the by-lanes and backstreets of Mumbai's Ballard Estate. This is the kind of published information, incidentally, which can cause the untimely demise of journalists; or others too, as we have seen recently again. So we stay out of that aspect, though it is certainly important, especially in this day and age of scams linked to stolen assets, hidden in tax havens, appearing in other industries like international sports events, offshore oil exploration, and telecom. This article tries to answer some of the simpler questions.

The first simple question that arises is, what was this rust-bucket, junk, unseaworthy vessel doing so close to Mumbai in the first place. The next question is, who plotted courses so far inland from what the actual course on a voyage from Colombo to Alang should have been. And, certainly, why was she inland of the oil rigs and security establishments in and around Bombay High? Mariners cannot even begin to think of the damage she would have caused if she had gone adrift near Bombay High.

MV Wisdom started life in faraway Hamburg, back in 1984-85, as the container ship Olandia. She bounced around the world with a variety of names, flags and despondent owners as well as charterers. These names often saw a repeat of the name Olandia, but also included Ocean Spirit, Contship Canada, City of Leeds, Oocl Pudong, Vietnam Star, Moringia, India Star, QC Wisdom and finally, Wisdom. Through all this, she bore a constant IMO (International Maritime Organisation) number - 8417558. As a small container ship, logging around 700 TEU, she would eventually see service as a feeder and an uneconomical one at that. Scrapping, therefore, would be a natural outcome.

Rule paramount which is drilled into our heads right in the beginning of our training is: All seaworthy merchant ships have a right of innocent passage through non-inland waters worldwide. However, a ship headed for scrapping, either under her own power or tow, does not come close to land or coast, as far as possible, for multiple reasons. If she does, then she needs to inform the authorities, who will then decide if she is to be provided with what is known as "the right to innocent passage" guaranteed to all seaworthy ships of all nations. Because a ship headed for scrapping is not seaworthy. And if a national authority wishes to, it can certainly deny her the right of innocent passage through her territorial waters, till a point where she has to enter the territorial waters for scrapping, or with precautions to prevent exactly what happened with the Wisdom.

In other words, the Wisdom should simply have stayed far away from India's territorial waters, until she was right off Alang, where she was reportedly destined for, and then made an entry in as direct and straight a course as possible. That is what her entry permissions into India should have stated in the first case.

The first convention that the MV Wisdom broke is that her tug and she entered India's territorial waters knowingly, and consciously, despite being very unseaworthy. We need to know and find out if she sought the required permissions to do so, or just barged right in, and then meandered close to Bandra, subsequently. A tug tow breaking in the monsoons, especially when towing an empty unmanned dead ship with high windage, is not something the authorities should have permitted right off Mumbai. One can, therefore, only presume that she was right off our coast, by some reports just four miles off, without any permissions or clearances. It would have to be total deliberate criminal negligence if permissions were given to this movement, in the way described, with just one tug that seemingly gave up after the towing arrangement snapped.

If she was in any other country, the authorities would have insisted that she had backup arrangements, at least two tugs for the tow and a third one on standby, and very regular monitoring of the situation.

Now, a dead ship under tow is not some sort of high-speed boat, it is more like a very slow combo chugging and struggling along at a speed not exceeding 3-4 knots (about 6-8 kmph), at best, if not even slower. In this sort of weather it would have taken more than a few days just to cross Mumbai harbour, assuming she came close to the coast past Goa, and then along the Raigad/Kolaba coast. She would have been picked up on every small and large shore radar screen, every naval and coast-guard ship, every offshore supply vessel on duty in and around the Bombay High platforms, and even the radars on the platforms and rigs. Most of all, despite the heavy seas and monsoons, she would have been visible to the naked eye from more than a dozen light-houses along the coast, including assorted naval batteries.

In addition, every other ship underway in and around the area would have picked her up on their radar screens, and stayed miles away. Any ship at anchor that this combo came within miles of would either raise anchor and flee, or raise a strong protest on the radio to the tug as well as the port authorities. As seafarers, we know how unpredictable and dangerous such derelicts under tow can be, and it is just not worth it being anywhere near them. Anywhere would mean that if I was on another ship, I would keep a very safe distance, which means steer at least five miles clear distance away, regardless, even more if I was a tanker or other kind of big ship.

Every one of them would have seen a double-blip on their screens. Any one of them could have challenged the tug-ship tow on simple VHF radio, and asked them to move further from shore, as well as establish identity. Every one of them could have filed a report with the many radio and marine stations all along the coast, of a tug and tow operating too close to the coast and representing a possible hazard. It is likely that some did, but whether they did or not is unknown; and even if they did, what happened next would be unknown. Something similar happens when un-roadworthy trucks are winked past on our roads, to give you an idea of what really may have happened, since there is no other logical reason why nobody seems to be aware of what was happening till this 13,000 tonner landed up aiming for the Bandra-Worli Sea Link.

The grapevine is, with hindsight, that this was a deliberate attempt to push a ship on to the Sea Link. Grapevine is seldom reliable and it does seem far-fetched, but it is an angle that will need to be investigated. If those who are investigating can find the real owners, that is.

The bigger issue, however, is that the Indian coast is rapidly becoming a dump yard for the junks and overage ships. And the Wisdom is just another example of this malaise; the solution to which has been debated and written about repeatedly, but never implemented, for a variety of reasons.

For all the coastline we have, our authorities have simply been unable to put up a simple Vessel Tracking System (VTS) along the coast, and appear to be nowhere near to doing so either. The bigger issue that the Wisdom brings out with shocking precision is simply that despite all the fuss after the 26/11 attacks by boat from Karachi, our coastline is as open as it was. Never mind small fishing boats, huge ships like the Wisdom can sail through, without being stopped or challenged. Think about it.

And if you challenge this too much, then you are in danger of meeting the same fate as other journalists who dig too deep, into matters pertaining to anything which might upset the status quo, of what really happens in offshore India. Or, being called "anti-national", as this writer has been, lately.

(Veeresh Malik is a qualified mariner and writer. He is also consulting editor with "Sailor Today".)

http://www.moneylife.in/article/why-was-the-mv-wisdom-allowed-to-get-so-near-the-bandra-worli-sea-link/17245.html

14/06/2011

FIR in Connection with Dubious Vessel MV Wisdom

While ToxicsWatch Alliance (TWA) suspects that the end-of-life vessel, a hazardous waste has entered Indian waters on fake documents in violation of the legal provisions within India and against Basel Convention, The Times of India, Mumbai has reported 14th June that an FIR was registered on 13th June against the captain and crew members of a foreign merchant vessel after an unmanned ship being towed away by it to Gujarat from Colombo drifted closer to the Mumbai coast as it broke free of its tug.

All 15 foreign nationals onboard 'MV Seabulk Plover' were booked under IPC Sections 280 (rash navigation of vessel) and 336 (act endangering life or personal safety of others).

On 11th June, the foreign unmanned ship 'MV Wisdom', which was being towed away by 'Seabulk Plover' to Alang shipbreaking yard in Gujarat, lost its tow due to rough weather and drifted close to the Mumbai coast.

`MV Wisdom', which was to be dismantled, is now grounded off Juhu beach, barely 400 metres from the coastline.

TWA has been demanding probe into fake documents of vessels like MV Wisdom by CBI for quite a while. Corroborating the same, in a letter dated May 9, 2011 authored by an Union Environment Ministry official, there is reference to a Environment Ministry report that deals with fake documents.

13/06/2011

Verify Documents of Alang bound vessels like MV Wisdom


Press Note

Verify Documents of Alang bound vessels like MV Wisdom

Maritime Security Concerns Remain Unaddressed

DG Shipping Must Demand Details of Port of Registry, Name and address of ship owner, IMO registered owner identification number and IMO company identification Number


New Delhi 13/6/2011: In the wake of the incident of MV Wisdom, ToxicsWatch Alliance (TWA) demands that no ship whether for dismantling or for shipping, be allowed in Indian waters without the name of Port of Registry, Name and address of ship owner, IMO registered owner identification number and IMO company identification Number unless this is done no seller will be traceable. (Refer to Appendix 4 of attached Hongkong Convention, page no. 39)

As to buyers there are two buyers-cash buyer and end buyer and if the vessel in question was for Alang delivery, it merits inquiry.

It is noteworthy that such vessels are registered in tax haven countries. The global shipping companies mutilate rule of law in the Indian waters with connivance and indulgence from Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) of UN’s International Maritime Organisation (IMO) in a routine manner. Ministry of Shipping, Ministry of Defense and Ministry of Steel, Government of India must coordinate efforts to ensure that such incidents do not happen in future.

TWA demands before allowing the salvage operation, the documents of ownership of the vessel must be verified by Directorate General of Shipping, Ministry of Shipping because Customs has expressed its inability to verify the genuineness of these documents as per the report of the Standing Monitoring Committee of Ministry of Environment & Forests.

The vessel should not be allowed be dismantled where it is grounded which would mean fulfilling the ulterior motive of the ship owner. The vessel's IMO Number is 8417558. It is under Singapore flag. The vessel was built 1985.

On the way from Colombo to Alang, this 147-metre long cargo vessel had to cross the Mumbai coast where it broke free from its tug and drifted towards the Bandra-Worli Sea Link. Under tow vessels are more risky. Due to rough weather, tug ropes break free. There are no crew members on dump tows. Such vessels are made water tight. MV Wisdom's tug, the MV Seabulk Plover has been brought to Mumbai.

TWA demands that no ship under tow be permitted in Indian waters from 15th May to 15th August during monsoon for the security of the port. Many a times monsoon is used as an excuse to dump end- of-life vessels in Indian waters. Transnational shipping companies are attempting to turn most of the end- of-life vessels into under tow vessels which are quite risky for Indian navigation route.

It germane to note that the next meeting of the Supreme Court constituted Inter-ministerial Committee (IMC) on Ship breaking, Union Ministry of Steel is scheduled for 8th July. So far IMC has not submitted any action taken report to the court.

The minutes of IMC meetings dated 17th September, 2010 notes that "The Coast Guard representative brought out some security concerns and incidents of communication sets from ships reportedly finding their way to the local fisherman. It was advised to the Ship recyclers to ensure that such equipment are immediately destroyed by the Customs as per the prescribed procedures. The Chairman also advised the Naval, Coast Guard and GMB to regularly interact as per the decisions taken in the earlier IMC meetings and to resolve the major security issues in the Coastal Security Committee meetings conducted at the State Level."

In its minute dated 4th February 2009, the IMC noted the Security Concerns, saying, "Both the representative of the Coast Guard and the representative from Naval HQ raised concerns over the entry of ships carrying hazardous cargo to Alang for ship breaking and how no information is made available to them regarding the movement of ships to Alang. Besides this there was no information regarding whether the Alang Port is compliant with the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code. In the context of the present security concerns in the country, the Chairman advised the representative of the Ministry of Shipping, the GMB officials, the Coast Guard representative and the Naval HQs to address the issue expeditiously so that the security gaps are taken care of and also to verify whether the port at Alang has implemented the ISPS codes. The Coast Guard representative and the Naval HQ representative also expressed apprehensions that the vessels coming in for beaching sometimes ply very close to the oil rigs, which could be a potential for accidents."

It also mentions that the Chairman of the IMC "directed that the Ministry of Shipping may organize a meeting on the matter with GMB, Naval HQ and Coast Guard HQ, Custom etc. immediately and ensure that gaps in the security frame-work issues are addressed immediately”.

The issue of MSC Chitra collision with another Merchant vessel Khailijia 3 near the Mumbai Port Trust on 7th August 2010, container vessel wherein an enquiry was ordered also merits attention.

An inquiry has been ordered by the DG Shipping into the causes of the incident of MV Wisdom. Several months have passed but has the Ministry of Shipping bothered to disclose the reasons in the case of MSC Chitra? The inquiry in the case of MV Wisdom should not meet the same fate.

Entry of such end-of-life vessels constitute an act of dumping of hazardous wastes in various disguises. Earlier, Union Shipping Minister gave vague information to the Lok Sabha saying “Different type of dangerous and Hazardous goods” are lying at Mumbai port from different dates starting from March 1983 including empty chlorine cylinders. He did not name and specify these dangerous and hazardous goods. A High level committee was also constituted to examine the cylinders/packages and advise on the measures to be taken/ methodology to be followed for neutralization of chemicals/gases and ultimate disposal of all the

uncleared hazardous cargo lying in the Port. The report is still awaited.

It may be noted that 22 % of the vessels are insulated vessels (asbestos and glass wool) as per industry sources. Bangladesh has banned insulated vessels. Pakistan has recognized the non-viability of insulated vessels. Mumbai port has issued a circular refusing insulated vessels but Alang port is continues to allow it. In the next one month 10-15 insulated are expected to come to Alang. Even industry sources say that they should not be allowed. In the refrigeration vessels (for perishable cargo), the entire vessel is insulated whereas in other vessels insulation is only in the engine.

Despite the opposition of environmental organizations, human rights and labour groups and even the ship breaking industry of India, Bangladesh and Pakistan, Union Ministry of Shipping has taken a unwise decision to become a party to the adoption of IMO’s HONG KONG INTERNATIONAL CONVENTION FOR THE SAFE AND ENVIRONMENTALLY SOUND RECYCLING OF SHIPS, 2009 although its a major step backwards from existing international and national environmental law. Unmindful of the fact that the IMO treaty will not prevent a single toxic ship from being exported and dumped on the beaches of India, Shipping Ministry refused to change its course although existing international law makes it illegal to export toxic waste to developing countries, to disproportionately burden the poor with pollution.

For Details: Gopal Krishna, ToxicsWatch Alliance, Mb: 9818089660,
Blog: imowatch.blogspot.com, Web: www.toxicswatch.com

MV Wisdom hits Juhu beach, Mumbai


MV Wisdom hits Juhu beach

MV wisdom, a 145-metre long cargo vessel bound for Alang ship-breaking yard, sparked a major scare on Saturday afternoon after it broke free from its tug and drifted towards the Bandra-Worli Sea Link.

The unmanned ship eventually ran aground off the Juhu beach “late in the evening”, said coast guard officials.

On Sunday morning, walkers at the beach were greeted with the magnificent view of Wisdom against the monsoon sky. As the word spread, crowd swelled. “Every weekend, the beach sees plenty of visitors.

However, today (Sunday), there was an usually large crowd,” Juhu resident Kumar Pravesh said. “People clicked pictures of the ship and enjoyed light rain.”

Satish Malavade

Coast guard officials said that the Singapore-flagged ship was “stable”. Arun Singh, the regional operations and plant officer for the coast guard’s western command, said that Wisdom had run aground 2.5 km from the Juhu beach.

He said that the talks were on with its owners. “We will get tugs to drag the ship out,” he said.

The directorate General of Shipping will conduct an investigation into Saturday’s incident. The 9,000-tonne MV Wisdom posed a risk to the Sea Link after it went adrift owing to bad weather.

“If the ship was being taken to Alang (from Colombo), we wonder what she was doing near Mumbai’s coast,” a coast guard official had said on Saturday.

Mumbai Mirror
June 13, 2011

06/06/2011

Shipbreaking at Mumbai's eastern coast no better than Alang Beach

Although ship-breaking plots in Lakri Bunder, on Mumbai's eastern coast remains off the radar of media, occupational and environmental health crisis remains unattended.

There have been 10 accidents at the Darukhana ship-breaking yards, resulting eight injuries and five deaths since April 1, 2010.

It has come to light that three workers were killed and six more grievously injured when a petrol-related fire broke out during ship-breaking at Powder Works Bunder in February, 2011.

Fire-related accidents and work-related injuries are a common reality for these workers. ToxicsWatch Alliance (TWA) demands that the Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) on shipbreaking led by S. Machendranathan must take note of ccupational and environmental health crisis at Mumbai and Alang to set matters rights. So far IMC's work has been far from satisfactory. It has not submitted any action taken report to Supreme Court.

02/06/2011

GMB, Customs Admit Inability to Verify Fake Documents of Ship Owners

Note: Relieable sources have revealed that Gulf Jash, ex- Probo Koala, is anchored in Halong Bay, Vietnam. An anonymous source has claimed that "the cashbuyer will try to beach the vessel no matter what the government or environmental agencies think. Please note sir, that the timing is important. With the monsoon about to hit the breaking yards the Gujarat Maritime Board issues a precautionary warning to all vessels waiting to take shelter or take necessary action to avoid collision. Taking this opportunity GMS is going to deliberately ground the vessel close to the breaking yards. Then the issue becomes of wreck removal rather than braking, thus making it all legal." It merits further verification but this gives a sense of deja vu. This what happened in the case of dead European vessel SS Blue Lady (ex SS Norway, SS France) and in the case of dead US vessel Platinum II (ex-MV Oceanic, SS Independence). In the case of US toxic ship, Environment Ministry's Office Memorandum (9th November, 2009) with the explicit sanction of the Union Environment Minister has been outwitted by GMB and DG Shipping, Ministry of Shipping because of the blessings of a senior Congressmen. Will the Ministry order a probe into what happened to Platinum II and its fake documents?

As per PTI release Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh sought a "factual report" from Gujarat Government following reports that a toxic-laden ship is headed towards the state's shores for dismantling after being denied entry in Bangladesh. "Yes, I have asked the state Government for a factual report," he told PTI when asked about reports that the ship is headed for Alang Ship Breaking Yard in Gujarat after being banned in Bangladesh. The Ministry reacted in a similar manner in the case of Platinum II but did not take its findings to its logical conclusion because Platinum II (ex-MV Oceanic, SS Independence) remains in Indian waters revealing the structural weakness of the Environment Ministry. Therefore, its response does not inspire confidence. Will the Ministry ever act to combat the menace of fake documents or will choose to be outwitted once again? Is the Ministry aware that most of the 120 ships currently on Alang beach have entered Indian waters on fake documents?

Gopal Krishna
ToxicsWatch Alliance (TWA)

Press Release

GMB, Customs Admit their Inability to Verify Fake Documents of Ship Owners

TWA Demands that documents of Dead Ships Currently on Alang Beach be Probed

Its Official, Supreme Court’s Order on Shipbreaking Violated


New Delhi, 2/6/2011: In an Office Memorandum No.29-3/2009-HSMD, Government of India, Ministry of Environment & Forests, (HSM Division) dated 9th May, 2011 relating to implementation of Supreme Court directions in respect of ship breaking activities, it has been admitted that the issue regarding the submission of fake certificates by the ship owners/agents remains unresolved. The Memorandum is attached.

Consequently, the identity of ship owners like those of Gulf Jash, an end-of-life European vessel remains hidden behind corporate veils. In the matter of toxic US ship Platinum II (Ex-SS Independence, MV Oceanic), ToxicsWatch Alliance (TWA) had provided documentary evidence of fake documents to the Environment Ministry which was referred to the Ministry of Steel. It wrote a letter to Shri S. Machendranathan Chiarman, Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) on shipbreaking (constituted by Supreme Court’s 14th October, 2003 order) drawing his attention to non-compliance with the Court’s order and the issue of the hazardous and dead European vessel on 1st June, 2011 (the letter is given below). The copies of the letter have been sent to the Union Ministers of Environment and Shipping and other senior officials.

It has come to light from the Office Memorandum dated May 2011 that Ministry of Environment & Forests (MoEF)’s Standing Monitoring Committee (SMC) on Shipbreaking has suggested that since Gujarat Maritime Board (GMB) and Customs were not able to verify the authenticity/genuineness of ship’s registry/flag in the fast in respect of some ships referred to them, this task in respect of each ship may be referred to the Directorate General Shipping, Ministry of Shipping ought to undertake such verification henceforth. The GMB officials informed MoEF that “the suggestion of the committee is acceptable to them subject to such verification by DG Shipping is done within a period of 2 working days. If no information is received from the DG Shipping within 2 working days, it will be presumed that the certificate submitted is authentic and genuine.” TWA disapproves of such presumption of genuineness of fabricated documents. It demands that documents of some 120 dead ships currently on Alang Beach, Bhavnagar, Gujarat must be investigated.

The Committee observed that “at present there is no single point access to the yards and therefore, hazardous waste is being illegally dumped at various places. It was suggested to have a single point access to the yards in order stop such illegal dumping activity.”

It has come to light from the report of the site visit of the committee that they visited the existing Hazardous Waste Treatment, Storage & Disposal Facility (TSDF) site and it was observed that the existing cell is almost full. TWA has confirmed it from the sources in the ship breaking industry that the TSDF is full. The report of the site visit by SMC is attached.
Before it was filled up Gujarat Enviro Protection and Infrastructure Ltd (GEPIL), Alang Unit has been operating and maintaining Common Hazardous waste TSDF on behalf of GMB, since October’ 2005.The site was constructed and developed by GMB. GEPIL was awarded this TSDF for Operation and Maintenance through competitive Bidding Process in September’ 2005. Its total Notified Area is 7 hectares. The site is situated at Alang Ship breaking yard. It is designed to collect, transport, Receipt, Store, treat and dispose off wide range of hazardous waste. GEPIL (Alang Unit) is also associated with Sweeping, collection, transportation, treatment and disposal of Municipal wastes generated during the ship breaking activities. GEPIL (Unit Alang) has been providing its services to more than 80 industries of region. The facility receives wastes from Ship breaking and Ship recycling industrial sectors. In its myopia GMB has suggested that “they may raise the height of the embankment of the cell and compress the existing material to enhance its capacity within designed parameters. This work needs to be taken up on urgent basis to ensure that this facility is available to shipbreakers at the existing site at least for another one year.”

TWA disapproves of creation such facilities for hazardous wastes that originated in developed countries. The million dollar question is that even if this is done what happens after one year and the year thereafter. Will Bhavnagar become a Hazardous Waste TSDF capital for the ship owning companies and countries in order to appear vibrant to the developed world?

Given the emergency situation that has emerged for the GMB, the SMC informed to the stakeholders that without the TSDF facility the shipbreaking activities should not be allowed by the GPCB as per the Supreme Court directions. It is evident to TWA that the shipbreaking activity that is currently in operation is happening in the absence of TSDF, thus, in clear violation of the Court’s directions.

SMC has recommended that “ship breaking yard shall not commence breaking of the ship till such time proper decontamination certificate is issued by GPCB after thorough inspection.” This recommendation does not take cognizance of Hon'ble Court's order that reads, "(16) At the international level, India should participate in international meetings on ship-breaking at the level of the International Maritime Organisation and the Basel Convention's Technical Working Group with a clear mandate for the decontamination of ships of their hazardous sub-stances such as asbestos, waste oil, gas and PCBs, prior to export to India for breaking." One of the fourteen Terms of Reference on which the High Powered Committee was to give its report and recommendations "Decontamination of ships before they are exported to India for breaking.” The apex court's order endorsed Basel Convention. (Order is attached).

SMC has suggested that monitoring of asbestos in ambient air at shipbreaking yards on Alang beach “shall be commissioned by GMB for carrying out the same by a reputed institute like NIOH, as a one time study.” TWA has been demanding that asbestos cannot be handled safely or in a controlled manner. Therefore, International Labour Organisation’s resolution of June 2006 and World Health Organisation’s resolution of 2005 seek elimination of future use of asbestos. Indian workers in general and migrant workers of Alang should not be made to handle asbestos under any situation.

TWA demands that Gujarat Pollution Board (GPCB) should make the study for sea water and sediment analysis public so that the extent of pollution at Alang beach can be comprehended.
Standing Monitoring Committee (SMC) on Shipbreaking comprises of (1) Dr. M. Subba Rao, Director, MoEF, (2) Shri B. R. Naidu, Scientist-D and Zonal Officer, CPCB, Vadodara (3) Shri B. D. Ghosh, Addl. Industrial Adviser, Ministry of Steel, (4) Capt. J. S. Uppal, Principal Officer, Mercantile Marine Department, DG Shipping, (5) Dr. S. R. Tripathi, Asstt. Director, NIOH, and (6) Dr. R. R. Tiwari, Scientist-C, NIOH. SMC visited the Ship Breaking Yards on Alang beach on 24th January, 2011.

TWA demands that the funds collected by GMB and Steel Ministry’s Ferrous Scrap Committee (FSC) must be used for remediation and decontamination of Alang beach and for workers and villagers’ environmental and occupational health rights.
For Details: Gopal Krishna, ToxicsWatch Alliance (TWA), Mb: 9818089660, E-mail: krishna2777@gmail.com, Blog: imowatch.blogspot.com, Web: www.toxicswatch.com


---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Gopal Krishna
Date: Wed, Jun 1, 2011 at 7:23 PM
Subject: Non-compliance of Supreme Court Order on Ship Breaking
To: asfasteel@nic.in
Cc: jairam54 , gkvasan@sasnsad.nic.in,
t.chatterjee@nic.in, secy-shipping@nic.in, m.mehrishi@nic.in,
jp.shukla@nic.in, Rajiv Gauba , sarojmoef < sarojmoef@yahoo.com>, pknag@nioh.org, pranabnag@yahoo.com, nioh@nioh.org,
aasharma_env@yahoo.com, eembvr-gmb@gujarat.gov.in,
eemdbvr-gmb@gujarat.gov.in, ms-gpcb@gujarat.gov.in, gpcb-bav@gujarat.gov.in,
cusdiv-bvr@nic.in, commi-labour@gujarat.gov.in, sbagnihotri@dgshipping.com,
jasjeetsuppal@vsnl.net, mmdkandla_1@dataone.in, barun.deb@nic.in,
fasli@dgfasli.nic.in, bvbabu.cpcb@nic.in, tripathinioh@yahoo.co.in,
srtripathi@nioh.org, Claude Alvares , Sanjay Parikh


To

Shri S. Machendranathan
Chiarman
Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) on shipbreaking
Union Ministry of Steel
Government of India
New Delhi

Subject-Non-compliance of Supreme Court Order on Ship Breaking

Sir,

With reference to news reports in The Times of India and Hindustan Times
dated 1st June, 2011 in the matter of European toxic ship Gulf Jash
(ex-Probo Koala), the letter dated 9th may, 2011 sent to your ministry
by Hazardous Substances Management Division, Ministry of Environment &
Forests and pursuant to my earlier letters to IMC on shipbreaking, I wish to
draw your attention towards the formation of a Standing Monitoring Committee
on Shipbreaking by the Environment Ministry to monitor/review compliance to
the recommendations of the Committee of Technical Experts (CTE) and the
Hon’ble Supreme Court directions dated 6.9.2007 on ship breaking activities
in the country.

It appears that Standing Monitoring Committee on Shipbreaking is
duplicating the work being done by Hon'ble Supreme Court
constituted Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) on shipbreaking by it order
dated 14th October, 2003. While I appreciate that IMC has ensured that the
minutes of its meeting are uploaded on Steel Ministry's website, I am quite
eager read the minutes of the last meeting of IMC that was held in early
2011 as I wish to make submission prior to the next meeting of IMC on 8th
July, 2011. I must submit that since its formation till date IMC has not
submitted its Action Taken Report to the Hon'ble Court. It is about time it
did so.

I have also learnt that the Standing Monitoring Committee visited Alang
Shipbreaking Yards on 24th January, 2011 and held meetings to review the
present status of compliance to the recommendations of the CTE and the
directions of the Hon’ble Supreme Court.
I am attaching the letter dated 9th may, 2011 and the Standing Monitoring
Committee's site visit report for your perusal and consideration. From the
report of the Standing Monitoring Committee on Shipbreaking, it is clear
that Hon'ble Court order has not been complied with.

I wish to draw your attention towards one very core aspect of the Hon'ble
Court's order that reads, "(16) At the international level, India should
participate in international meetings on ship-breaking at the level of the
International Maritime Organisation and the Basel Convention's Technical
Working Group with a clear mandate for the decontamination of ships of their
hazardous sub-stances such as asbestos, waste oil, gas and PCBs, prior to
export to India for breaking." One of the fourteen Terms of Reference on
which the High Powered Committee was to give its report and recommendations
"Decontamination of ships before they are exported to India for breaking.”
The apex court's order endorsed Basel Convention. (Order is attached). I am
also attaching a UN report that refers to the situation at Alang beach and
Basel Convention's Guidelines for Dismantling of Ships.

I submit that IMC should seek compliance with Hon'ble Supreme Court’s order
that endorsed UN’s Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary
Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal from the Ministries of
Environment & Forests, Shipping and Steel and Gujarat Maritime Board.

In the specific case of 182 meter long hazardous vessel Gulf Jash (ex-Probo
Koala) which is reported to be on the way to Indian waters, IMC must
recommend refusal of entry to this vessel that is laden with hazardous
asbestos, PCBs, toxic paints, fuel and chemical residues and it has been
established that it has not been pre-cleaned. The list of hazardous
substances is attached. The ship’s IMO number is 8309816. The picture of the
ship is attached. The ship currently has the flag of Panama. As of 14 May,
2011, the vessel was in Indian Ocean. It last port was Abu Dhabi. Probo
Koala was renamed in Gulf Jash in 2007.

I wish to inform that TWA has learnt from officials in Alang that Indian
Coast Guards and Indian Navy would be the first to know about its possible
entry in Indian waters.

It is apprehended that Global Marketing Systems (GMS), a US company
specialised in the brokering of vessels for demolition has bought the ship.
It is hiding its final destination. It is noteworthy that earlier 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 the famous ship-breaking cash buyer Mr. Anil Sharma, for
exporting the ship from in violation of the U.S. Toxic Substances Control
Act (TSCA) in past in the matter of Platinum II (ex-SS Oceanic, SS
Independence). This US based Cash-Buyer, GMS is trying to deviate the vessel
towards Alang beach, India or Gadani beach, Pakistan. GMS is owned by a US
citizen of Indian origin. The ownership history is attached.

I submit that prior to this In July 2010, Trafigura, an Amsterdam,
Netherlands based transnational company founded in 1993 was found guilty of
illegal export of waste from an EU country to states in Africa, Carribean
and Pacific. It attempted to deliver goods from onboard the Gulf Jash
(ex-Probo Koala) to the Amsterdam port reception facility while concealing
their hazardous nature. The court stated that Trafigura knew the waste was
toxic and chose to dispose of it at a cheap price. The company was fined 1
million euros but appealed the decision. In 2006, the company Trafigura used
the Gulf Jash (ex-Probo Koala) to illegally dump 528 tonnes of toxic waste
in Abidjan, the largest city of the Ivory Coast, causing the death of 16
people.

Its registered owner in 2006 was "Celtic Legend Shipping Inc." of Norway.
Later, the "beneficial owner" (and manager and operator) is Prime Marine
Management, of Athens, Greece. The Probo Koala was chartered by Trafigura
LTD, a subsidiary of the NL trading company Trafigura Beheer BV (the parent
company of the 55 trading companies operated by Trafigura). Probo Koala's
agent in Abidjan was WAIB-CL, and there was an intermediate company, between
Trafigura LTD and WAIB-CL, called "Societe Tommy". Tommy was the entity that
actually "disposed" of the hundreds of metric tonnes of toxic waste
throughout and around the city of Abidjan. The role of Puma Energy (100%
owned by Trafigura based in Amstelveen, NL and controlled from Trafigura's
Lucerne, Switzerland offices) remains unclear, as does its association with
the company, "Tommy" and WAIB-CL, though the Ivorian authorities had
arrested those directing each of WAIB-CL, Tommy and Puma Energy. Puma Energy
had a local office in Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire. On July 2, 2006 the Probo
Koala was in Amsterdam where the chartering company of the ship, Trafigura,
declined paying higher costs to offload and treat waste that it claimed were
residues from routine tank washing operations.

As you are aware that it is a matter if fact that “The multiplicity of
private structures intervening in trade and maritime transport (flag, owner,
ship owner, charterer, manager, consignee, emptier, etc) and the vagueness
presiding voluntarily or involuntarily in the allocation of roles and
responsibilities meant that a huge amount of time was wasted in
investigations. Nowadays, maritime activity is increasingly an activity
where opacity in actions remains significant, in particular in the high
seas, outside the territorial waters of each State.” (Report of Committee on
Toxic Waste in Abidjan, Ivory Coast Attached).

It is noteworthy that Dutch authorities had allowed the ship to sail
unimpeded. Under the Basel Convention the responsibility for the dumping of
wastes should be tied to the generator of the hazardous wastes; the exporter
of the wastes (charterer Trafigura) or to the country of export. Under EU
law, exports of hazardous wastes from the EU to non-OECD countries are
strictly prohibited.

I submit that European Commission must engage the European Union law
enforcement organisation EUROPOL to coordinate member states' activities in
order to prevent the ship, its captain, owners and operators escaping
prosecution. EUROPOL is the European Law Enforcement Organisation which
exists to improve the effectiveness and co-operation of the competent
authorities in the Member States in preventing and combating terrorism and
other serious forms of international organised crime. This vessel must be
denied entry. European Commission must recall this vessel to Europe in
compliance with the October 2006 European Parliament Resolution.

I submit that Indian environmental borders have been compromised with
enormous amounts of hazardous wastes and ships waste moving inside our
borders to exploit cost externalization possibilities and in the process
exploit fragile coastal environment of Alang beach in Bhavnagar, Gujarat.

I wish to draw your attention towards the hazardous wastes/shipbreaking
matter that came up for hearing in the Supreme Court on May 25, 2011. The
vacation bench of Justice G S Singhvi and Justice Chandramauli Kr Prasad
observed, "Why don't they break these ships in their own countries," Justice
Singhvi asked, adding "If there is a threat to environment, then this court
will intervene". This observations of the bench are quite welcome.

I submit that TWA will apprise the court and pray for its intervention if
the Ministries of Environment & Forests, Shipping and Steel do not stop the
entry of this end-of life vessel laden with hazardous wastes and toxic
materials. The next date of hearing in the Supreme Court is on 5th July,
2011.

I submit that any vessel that has been rejected by a neighbouring country
must be rejected in India well. The vessel’s entry has been banned in
Bangladesh in May 2011. This vessel cannot be allowed entry because India is
a party to the UN treaty on hazardous wastes and the tenth meeting of the
Conference of the Parties to the Basel Convention will be held at Cartagena
de Indias, Colombia from 17 -21 October 2011.

The Convention was initiated in response to numerous international scandals
regarding hazardous waste trafficking that began to occur in the late 1980s.
The Convention entered into force on 5 May 1992 with its Secretariat in
Geneva, Switzerland. It is eminently clear that the Basel Ban is needed now
more than at any point since the Convention was adopted. In the Third
Conference of the Parties to the Basel Convention (COP3) in September 1995
made an amendment to include the request of the G-77 countries including
India for the total ban on all exports of hazardous wastes from Organization
of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries to non-OECD
countries that was passed by consensus and came to be known as the Basel Ban
Amendment.

TWA has been warning concerned authorities to abandon the Free Trade
Agreements (FTAs) with countries like EU and Japan who have been promoting
hazardous wastes trade along with countries such as US, Germany, and the UK
by indulging in linguistic corruption.

The Basel Ban amendment effectively banned as of 1 January 1998, all forms
of hazardous waste exports from the 29 wealthiest most industrialized
countries of the (OECD to all non-OECD countries. In order for the Ban
amendment to enter the force of law it will need to be ratified by 62 of the
Basel Parties. The Basel Ban has been ratified by 70 countries (Parties to
the Convention). For entry into force of the Ban Amendment, only the
official deposits equalling 63 of the 62 are needed (representing 3/4ths of
the 82 Parties present at COP3). India must ratify it to safe guard its
environment for the sake of intergeneration equity instead of pursuing the
path of FTAs with countries EU and Japan or International Maritime
Organisation (IMO)’s ship recycling convention which is anti- environment,
anti-worker and anti-human rights.

In such a backdrop, Supreme Court’s observations of May 2011 are reminiscent
of what the head of the Indian delegation, said at the first Conference of
the Parties (COP 1) to the Basel Convention in 1992, in Uruguay. Requesting
industrialized countries to refrain from exporting hazardous wastes to
developing countries, he said, "You industrialized countries have been
asking us to do many things for the global good – to stop cutting down our
forests, to stop using your CFC’s – now we are asking you to do something
for the global good – keep your own waste." India should revive its
exemplary position on the matter of waste trade and take the ship-breaking
activity off the Alang beach, which at present appears to have been
outsourced for ship owning countries and companies to contaminate the
coastal environment for ever ridiculing Coastal Regulation Zone.

I submit that in the 58 page Draft Code on Regulations for Safe and
Environmentally Sound Ship Recycling, having studied the Draft it is matter
of relief that Ministry of Steel is making sincere efforts to comply with
the Supreme Court order of 14th October, 2003 and 6th September 2007 to
protect the fragile coastal environment of Alang Beach. In Chapter 3 of the
Code at Section 3.1.2 there is mention of "dry dock" method for ship
recycling among others. And in Chapter 6 of the Code at Section 6.6.1 (a)
there is reference to Coastal Regulation Zone-1991 which has decreed the
following regulation on 19th February 1991 under the reference Coastal
Regulation Zone (CRZ) Notification, “For regulating development activities,
the coastal stretches within 500 metres of the high tide line of the
landward side are classified into 4 categories. Paragraph 2 of the
Notification lists out the 'Prohibited activities and exceptions' The
activities declared as prohibited within the CRZ, namely, Para 2 (ii)
states, " manufacture, handling, storage or disposal of hazardous substances
as specified in the 'Notifications of the Government of India in the
Ministry of Environment and Forests' No. S.O. 594 (E) dated 28th July 1989,
S.O. 996 (E) dated 27th November 1989 and G.S.R. 1037 (E) dated 5th December
1989. Para 2 (v) states, “discharge of untreated wastes and effluents from
industries, cities towns and other human settlements." It is clearly that
there is a case for revisiting the conditional environmental clearance given
to the ship-breaking industrial activity on Alang beach, which is attracting
vessels like Gulf Jash (ex-Probo Koala).

In view of the above, I submit that besides stopping the entry of this
end-of-life hazardous vessel in Indian waters, it would be apt for the
Indian authorities to verify the documents of some 120 ships which are
currently on the Alang beach and forewarn the Pakistani authorities about
the harmful ramifications of allowing such a ship in their territory well.


I will be glad share more information.

Thanking You

Yours faithfully
Gopal Krishna,
Convener
ToxicsWatch Alliance (TWA)
New Delhi
Mb: 9818089660,

E-mail: toxicswatchalliance@gmail.com

Blog: imowatch.blogspot.com
Web: www.toxicswatch.com

Cc/

Union Minister of Environment & Forests
Union Minister of Shipping
Secretary, Ministry of Environment & Forests
Secretary, Ministry of Shipping
Additional Secretary, Ministry of Environment & Forests (HSMD)
Joint Secretary, Ministry of Environment & Forests (HSMD)
Joint Secretary, Ministry of Steel
Dr Saroj, Director, Ministry of Environment & Forests
Members of Standing Monitoring Committee on Shipbreaking
Dr Claude Alvares, Member, Supreme Court's Monitoring Committee (SCMC) on
Hazardous Wastes

Ramesh seeks Gujarat report on toxic ship

Chetan Chauhan, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, June 01, 2011

The government rushed into action a day after report of toxic ship Probo Koala, now known as Gulf Jash, heading to Gujarat for dismantling even as country’s law fails to prevent entry of such ships.

Environment minister Jairam Ramesh on Wednesday said that he has sought a report on Gulf Jash from the Gujarat government after Bangladesh refused entry to the ship involved in controversial death of 16 persons in Ivory Coast, where it dumped its toxins in 2006.

“Yes, I have asked for the report,” the minister said.

For many environmental activists such as Gopal Krishna, convener of NGO Toxic Watch Alliance, preventing entry of Gulf Jash into Indian territorial waters will not be easy.

“Many ships enter India on basis of fake papers hiding the fact that they have toxins. Most of these toxic ships originally of the companies registered in Europe are sold to buyers who then register them in Panama. Its entire history is then wiped out,” he said.

Gulf Jash is also registered in Panama and an official of US based Global Marketing Systems, the alleged owner of the ship, told HT that the ship does not contain any toxins. “It has been used to ferry dry cargo since the Ivory Coast incident,” the person who identified himself as Rizwan said.

He explained the history of the ship since illegal dumping of toxins in Ivory Coast allegedly caused death of 16 persons but claimed that the company is not its owner. He, however, did not deny that it was negotiating to buy Gulf Jash. “We negotiate to buy many ships,” he said.

As the news of Gulf Jash entering India spread, Alang based Leela Group was prompt to claim that it has not bought the ship. “We have no connection to her or have any information regarding the vessel,” a statement issued by Corporate Communication department of the company said.

As per rules, a foreign ship for dismantling is allowed entry only if it has an Indian buyer. In the past, ships denied entry into Bangladesh such as SS Blue Lady was bought by Indian ship breakers and were dismantled in Alang in Gujarat.

If the government wants the environment ministry can direct the port and coast guard authorities prevent to a ship from entering India on the grounds of containing toxins. In 2009, the ministry has stopped entry of US ship Platinum II allegedly carrying 200 tonnes of asbestos and 210 tonnes of materials containing toxic polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) from entering Alang.

This time, the ministry’s action will depend on the report it receives from the Gujarat government.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/Ramesh-seeks-Gujarat-report-on-toxic-ship/Article1-704582.aspx

Govt unaware of owners of ships coming to Alang, says report
Jun 2, 2011

NEW DELHI: The government is unaware of who really owns the ships that are coming to Alang for ship-breaking, an internal report of the government accessed by TOI admits.

The report prepared by the Standing Monitoring Committee on Shipbreaking Yards at Alang notes that the customs officials and the Gujarat Maritime Board are unable to verify whether the documents provided to them when the ship beaches at Alang are falsified or not.

The committee has recommended that the Director-General Shipping be made responsible for verifying the documents of the 'end-of-life' ships coming to Alang for being broken down.

But the Gujarat Maritime Board has attempted to create a loophole in this. It has said that if the DG Shipping does not clear the documents within 48 hours then it would be presumed that the certificates submitted are authentic and genuine.

The committee had noted that the customs and GMB officials had been unable to "verify the authenticity and genuineness of ship's registry/flag in the past in respect of some ships referred to them".

The issue of ownership had become important with a Naval intelligence report. The report had warned in 2004 that the Dawood gang had invested heavily in the business of ship-breaking. "A large number of cash buyers (who buy these condemned ships against cash) are Pak nationals based at London/UAE. Due to large profit margins, Dawood group appears to have invested heavily in Cash Buyers thus having a stake in most deals," Directorate of Naval Intelligence had noted.

Almost 40-50% of the metal trade arising from breaking down a ships was done through the hawala route, it had also recorded.

The intelligence report had warned that smuggling of contraband, explosives and agents on these ships on to Indian soil was a distinct possibility. It had said that the defence ministry should give clearance for all such vessels before the ship is allowed to enter Indian waters.

It has been reported several times that ships bearing registration with shell companies in countries like Liberia, Comoros Islands, Kiribati and Panama come for breakage at Alang. The real owners of the ships remain hidden behind these shell companies with the ships carrying what are called 'flags of convenience'.

01/06/2011

Alang Beach, Gujarat Wary of Notorious European Vessel, Gulf Jash

Press Release

Alang Beach, Gujarat Wary of Notorious European Vessel, Gulf Jash

Indian Coast Guards & Indian Navy Must Stop Its Entry in Indian Waters

Supreme Court’s Order Prohibits Entry of Dead Vessels sans Pre-cleaning

European Commission must recall this Toxic vessel


New Delhi 1

June, 2011 –Demanding compliance with Supreme Court’s order which has endorsed UN’s Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal, ToxicsWatch Alliance (TWA), an applicant in the Court demands that the Ministries of Environment & Forests, Shipping and Steel must refuse entry of this 182 meter long hazardous vessel Gulf Jash (ex-Probo Koala) in Indian waters. This vessel is laden with hazardous asbestos, PCBs, toxic paints, fuel and chemical residues and it has been established that it has not been pre-cleaned. The list of hazardous substances is attached.

The ship’s IMO number is 8309816. The picture of the ship is attached.

The ship currently has the flag of Panama. As of 14 May, 2011, the vessel was in Indian Ocean. It last port was Abu Dhabi. Probo Koala was renamed in Gulf Jash in 2007.

TWA has learnt from officials in Alang that Indian Coast Guards and Indian Navy would be the first to know about its possible entry in Indian waters.

Reliable sources suggest that Global Marketing Systems (GMS), a US company specialised in the brokering of vessels for demolition has bought the ship. It is hiding its final destination. It is noteworthy that earlier 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 the famous ship-breaking cash buyer Mr. Anil Sharma, for exporting the ship from in violation of the U.S. Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) in past in the matter of Platinum II (ex-SS Oceanic, SS Independence). This US based Cash-Buyer, GMS is trying to deviate the vessel towards Alang beach, India or Gadani beach, Pakistan. GMS is owned by a US citizen of Indian origin. The ownership history is attached.

Prior to this In July 2010, Trafigura, an Amsterdam, Netherlands based transnational company founded in 1993 was found guilty of illegal export of waste from an EU country to states in Africa, Carribean and Pacific. It attempted to deliver goods from onboard the Gulf Jash (ex-Probo Koala) to the Amsterdam port reception facility while concealing their hazardous nature. The court stated that Trafigura knew the waste was toxic and chose to dispose of it at a cheap price. The company was fined 1 million euros but appealed the decision. In 2006, the company Trafigura used the Gulf Jash (ex-Probo Koala) to illegally dump 528 tonnes of toxic waste in Abidjan, the largest city of the Ivory Coast, causing the death of 16 people.

Its registered owner in 2006 was "Celtic Legend Shipping Inc." of Norway. Later, the "beneficial owner" (and manager and operator) is Prime Marine Management, of Athens, Greece. The Probo Koala was chartered by Trafigura LTD, a subsidiary of the NL trading company Trafigura Beheer BV (the parent company of the 55 trading companies operated by Trafigura). Probo Koala's agent in Abidjan was WAIB-CL, and there was an intermediate company, between Trafigura LTD and WAIB-CL, called "Societe Tommy". Tommy was the entity that actually "disposed" of the hundreds of metric tonnes of toxic waste throughout and around the city of Abidjan. The role of Puma Energy (100% owned by Trafigura based in Amstelveen, NL and controlled from Trafigura's Lucerne, Switzerland offices) remains unclear, as does its association with the company, "Tommy" and WAIB-CL, though the Ivorian authorities had arrested those directing each of WAIB-CL, Tommy and Puma Energy. Puma Energy had a local office in Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire. On July 2, 2006 the Probo Koala was in Amsterdam where the chartering company of the ship, Trafigura, declined paying higher costs to offload and treat waste that it claimed were residues from routine tank washing operations.

It is a matter if fact that “The multiplicity of private structures intervening in trade and maritime transport (flag, owner, ship owner, charterer, manager, consignee, emptier, etc) and the vagueness presiding voluntarily or involuntarily in the allocation of roles and responsibilities meant that a huge amount of time was wasted in investigations. Nowadays, maritime activity is increasingly an activity where opacity in actions remains significant, in particular in the high seas, outside the territorial waters of each State.” (Report of Committee on Toxic Waste in Abidjan, Ivory Coast Attached).

Dutch authorities had allowed the ship to sail unimpeded. Under the Basel Convention the responsibility for the dumping of wastes should be tied to the generator of the hazardous wastes; the exporter of the wastes (charterer Trafigura) or to the country of export.

Under EU law, exports of hazardous wastes from the EU to non-OECD countries are strictly prohibited.

TWA demands that European Commission must engage the European Union law enforcement organisation EUROPOL to coordinate member states' activities in order to prevent the ship, its captain, owners and operators escaping prosecution. EUROPOL is the European Law Enforcement Organisation which exists to improve the effectiveness and co-operation of the competent authorities in the Member States in preventing and combating terrorism and other serious forms of international organised crime.

This vessel must be denied entry. TWA demands that the European Commission must recall this vessel to Europe in compliance with the October 2006 European Parliament Resolution.
Indian environmental borders have been compromised with enormous amounts of hazardous wastes and ships waste moving inside our borders to exploit cost externalization possibilities and in the process exploit fragile coastal environment of Alang beach in Bhavnagar, Gujarat.
The hazardous wastes/shipbreaking matter came up for hearing in the Supreme Court on May 25, 2011. The vacation bench of Justice G S Singhvi and Justice Chandramauli Kr Prasad observed, "Why don't they break these ships in their own countries," Justice Singhvi asked, adding "If there is a threat to environment, then this court will intervene". TWA welcomes the observations of the bench.

TWA will apprise the court and pray for its intervention if the Ministries of Environment & Forests, Shipping and Steel do not stop the entry of this end-of life vessel laden with hazardous wastes and toxic materials. The next date of hearing in the Supreme Court is on 5th July, 2011.

TWA holds that any vessel that has been rejected by a neighbouring country must be rejected in India well. The vessel’s entry has been banned in Bangladesh in May 2011.

This vessel cannot be allowed entry because India is a party to the UN treaty on hazardous wastes and the tenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Basel Convention will be held at Cartagena de Indias, Colombia from 17 -21 October 2011. The Convention was initiated in response to numerous international scandals regarding hazardous waste trafficking that began to occur in the late 1980s. The Convention entered into force on 5 May 1992 with its Secretariat in Geneva, Switzerland. It is eminently clear that the Basel Ban is needed now more than at any point since the Convention was adopted. In the Third Conference of the Parties to the Basel Convention (COP3) in September 1995 made an amendment to include the request of the G-77 countries including India for the total ban on all exports of hazardous wastes from Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries to non-OECD countries that was passed by consensus and came to be known as the Basel Ban Amendment.

TWA has been warning concerned authorities to abandon the Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with countries like EU and Japan who have been promoting hazardous wastes trade along with countries such as US, Germany, and the UK.
The Basel Ban amendment effectively banned as of 1 January 1998, all forms of hazardous waste exports from the 29 wealthiest most industrialized countries of the (OECD to all non-OECD countries. In order for the Ban amendment to enter the force of law it will need to be ratified by 62 of the Basel Parties. The Basel Ban has been ratified by 70 countries (Parties to the Convention). For entry into force of the Ban Amendment, only the official deposits equalling 63 of the 62 are needed (representing 3/4ths of the 82 Parties present at COP3). India must ratify it to safe guard its environment for the sake of intergeneration equity instead of pursuing the path of FTAs with countries EU and Japan or International Maritime Organisation (IMO)’s ship recycling convention which is anti- environment, anti-worker and anti-human rights.

In such a backdrop, Supreme Court’s observations of May 2011 are reminiscent of what the head of the Indian delegation, said at the first Conference of the Parties (COP 1) to the Basel Convention in 1992, in Uruguay. Requesting industrialized countries to refrain from exporting hazardous wastes to developing countries, he said, "You industrialized countries have been asking us to do many things for the global good – to stop cutting down our forests, to stop using your CFC’s – now we are asking you to do something for the global good – keep your own waste." India should revive its exemplary position on the matter of waste trade and take the ship-breaking activity off the Alang beach, which at present appears to have been outsourced for ship owning countries and companies to contaminate the coastal environment for ever ridiculing Coastal Regulation Zone.

In the 58 page Draft Code on Regulations for Safe and Environmentally Sound Ship Recycling, having studied the Draft it is matter of relief that Ministry of Steel is making sincere efforts to comply with the Supreme Court order of 14th October, 2003 and 6th September 2007 to protect the fragile coastal environment of Alang Beach. In Chapter 3 of the Code at Section 3.1.2 there is mention of "dry dock" method for ship recycling among others. And in Chapter 6 of the Code at Section 6.6.1 (a) there is reference to Coastal Regulation Zone-1991 which has decreed the following regulation on 19th February 1991 under the reference Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) Notification, “For regulating development activities, the coastal stretches within 500 metres of the high tide line of the landward side are classified into 4 categories. Paragraph 2 of the Notification lists out the 'Prohibited activities and exceptions' The activities declared as prohibited within the CRZ, namely, Para 2 (ii) states, " manufacture, handling, storage or disposal of hazardous substances as specified in the 'Notifications of the Government of India in the Ministry of Environment and Forests' No. S.O. 594 (E) dated 28th July 1989, S.O. 996 (E) dated 27th November 1989 and G.S.R. 1037 (E) dated 5th December 1989. Para 2 (v) states, “discharge of untreated wastes and effluents from industries, cities towns and other human settlements." Clearly, there is a case for revisiting the conditional environmental clearance given to the ship-breaking industrial activity on Alang beach, which is attracting vessels like Gulf Jash (ex-Probo Koala).

Besides stopping the entry of this end-of-life hazardous vessel in Indian waters, it would be apt for the Indian authorities to verify the documents of some 120 ships which are currently on the Alang beach and forewarn the Pakistani authorities about the harmful ramifications of allowing such a ship in their territory well.

For Details: Gopal Krishna, ToxicsWatch Alliance, Mb: 9818089660,
E-mail: toxicswatchalliance@gmail.com, Web: imowatch.blogspot.com
http://www.shipbreakingplatform.org
Greenpeace reports on the Probo Koala:
http://www.greenpeace.nl/reports/coplaint-dutch-advertising-cod/
http://www.greenpeace.org/international/en/campaigns/toxics/trafigura/

FIDH report on the Probo Koala:
http://fidh.org/IMG/pdf/FIDH-LIDHO-MIDH_Rapport_ProboKoala_avril2011.pdf

UN Special Rapporteur Report on the investigation into the dumping of waste in Ivory Coast:
http://bit.ly/iiZi9I