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

07/08/2011

Mumbai’s Coastal Ecology Faces Oil Spill Disaster Like Gujarat’s Alang Beach

Press Note

Mumbai’s Coastal Ecology Faces Oil Spill Disaster Like Gujarat’s Alang Beach

New Delhi: The leakage of oil from Panama flagged ship MV Rak once again reveals that repeated reminders of Indian Coast Guard (ICG) to the Inter-ministerial Committees did not have any effect on Ministry of Shipping and Ministry of Home Affairs that remains quite weak in regulating transboundary movement of ships in Indian waters. The responsibility of Coast Guard lies beyond port limits but Director-General, ICG has the overall responsibility for appropriate response to oil spill incidents. This has created a situation where Government of India remains unprepared to deal with oil pollution.

The ship owner, of MV Rak, the ship manager and the local ship agent have been issued notices under sections 356 J & K of Merchant Shipping Act, 1958 that gives the “Power to give notice to owner, etc of polluting ships” and “Power to take measures for preventing or containing oil pollution” respectively. The Directorate General of Shipping is making efforts to contact the owner and insurer of the ship.

ToxicsWatch Alliance (TWA), an applicant in the hazardous wastes case in the Supreme Court has been demanding that ships should not 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 Hongkong Convention, page no. 39).TWA has written to Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA), Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS), Group of Ministers (GoM) to consider measures that
can be taken by the Government to tackle corruption and the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Transport, Tourism and Culture in this regard. (the letters are given below)

The Director-General, ICG is the chairman of the National Oil Spill Disaster Contingency

Plan (NOS-DCP) which was promulgated in the year 1996 and approved by the Committee of Secretaries to Government of India designating Coast Guard as the Central Coordination Authority. The NOSDCP was promulgated to all agencies after consent of related ministries during1996. It was updated in 2008. It is reliably learnt that ICG does not have the capability to detect, monitor and neutralise HNS type of marine pollution. While coastal security is duty of the Indian Navy, marine pollution is ICG’s responsibility. National Oil Spill Disaster Contingency Plan was intended to delineate entire national preparedness and response system including both public and private resources for responding to oil spill emergency and provide the basic frame work and guidelines for a national response to oil spills at sea.

After the promulgation of NOS-DCP, ICG responded to 68 oil spill incidents in Indian waters and claimed recovery charges worth Rs.8.13 Crores towards cleanup cost till 2008.

Indian Coast Guard Act of 1978, and the Merchant Shipping Act of 1958 (amended in 1990 for oil pollution, and later amended in 2003 for Hazardous & Noxious Substances [HNS] pollution), the Indian Coast Guard mandated as the focal point for countering marine pollution regulate oil spill incidents.

It is relevant to note that the Sixteenth National Oil Spill Disaster Contingency Plan (NOS-DCP) and Preparedness meeting was held at Hotel Presidency, Kochi on 19 Apr 2011. Vice Admiral Anil Chopra AVSM, Director General Indian Coast Guard who chaired the meeting recalled the “oil response operations undertaken to MV MSC Chitra oil spill incident …in the cleanup operations to bring back the Coastline of Maharashtra close to the pre spill state. The Chairman NOSDCP also highlighted on the oil spill incidents that occurred in Indian water since the last NOSDCP, such as, oil spill from MV Tiger spring at Kolkata, the ONGC pipeline leakage, the minor spill by MV Ratna Urvi at Haldia and the oil spill from MV Mirach which sank off Kanyakumari in April 2011.” These incidents reveal that unless Zero Tolerance Policy is adopted against irresponsible and dubious ships our coastal ecology will continue to face irreparable assaults.

Oil spill is covered under Hazardous & Noxious Substances (HNS) Protocol of 2010 to the International Convention on Liability and Compensation for Damage in Connection with the Carriage of Hazardous and Noxious Substances by Sea, 1996. It was adopted on April 30, 2010. India is yet to ratify the Protocol. HNS are defined by reference to lists of substances included in various IMO Conventions and Codes. These include oils; other liquid substances defined as noxious or dangerous; liquefied gases; liquid substances with a flashpoint not exceeding 60°C; dangerous, hazardous and harmful materials and substances carried in packaged form; and solid bulk materials defined as possessing chemical hazards. The Convention also covers residues left by the previous carriage of HNS, other than those carried in packaged form.

Under the 2010 Protocol, if damage is caused by bulk HNS, compensation would first be sought from the shipowner, up to a maximum limit of 100 million Special Drawing Rights (SDR). 1 SDR is an equivalent of Rs 71.417900 as of August 5, 2011. Where damage is caused by packaged HNS, or by both bulk HNS and packaged HNS, the maximum liability for the shipowner is 115 million SDR. Once this limit is reached, compensation would be paid from a second tier, the HNS Fund, up to a maximum of 250 million SDR (including compensation paid under the first tier). According to IMO norms, Marine pollution due to oil spills are categorised as follows:Tier 1: Below 700 tonnes of oil, Tier 2: Between 700 to 10,000 tonnes and Tier 3: 10,000 to 100,000 tonnes. India does not have the capacity to counter this spills over 100,000 tonnes. Once the extent of oil spill is determined due MV Rak, it would be clear as to what Tier it belongs to. NOS-DCP requires amendment to include HNS protocol of the IMO.

There is a compelling logic for Ministry of Shipping to legislate that all ships visiting Indian ports must have a comprehensive oil-cum-HNS pollution insurance with a reputed company so that clean-up operations are not paid for by the Indian taxpayer and ship owners who commit environmental crimes are made liable. India has a coastline of 7500 km. It has 11major, 20 intermediate and 144 minor ports. Replies given by Shipping Minister in the Parliament has revealed that most of our ports are vulnerable to assaults by vested interests and conniving ship owning companies who indulge in dubious activities to escape liability. Indian response to oil spills and the US response to oil spill in Gulf of Mexico on April 20, 2010 present a contrast.

Earlier, Ministry of Defence was the nodal agency for coordination in the matter of Oil Spill, now the Ministry of Home Affairs is the nodal agency. Repeated failure to detect and obviate ship related accidents and entry of obsolete ships on fake documents in Indian waters provides a rationale for the Ministry of Defence to be reassigned the responsibility.

For Details: Gopal Krishna, ToxicsWatch Alliance, Mb: 9818089660, E-mail: krishna2777@gmail.com, Web: imowatch.blogspot.com

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Gopal Krishna
Date: Sun, Aug 7, 2011 at 8:01 PM
Subject: Fwd: Ban on Dumping of Hazardous Obsolete Ships in Indian Waters
To: rsc-tt@sansad.nic.in
Cc: pkarunakaranmp@gmail.com, s.a.pasha@sansad.nic.in, nagendraks@sansad.nic.in, jagdishk@sansad.nic.in, swarabji.b@sansad.nic.in


To

Shri Sitaram Yechury
Chairman
Parliamentary Standing Committee on Transport, Tourism & Culture
New Delhi

Through RAJYA SABHA SECRETARIAT


Subject-Ban on Dumping of Hazardous Obsolete Ships in Indian Waters

Sir,

This is to draw your attention to my letter to the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs and Cabinet Committee on Security in the matter of the entry of unmanned 21-year-old and 2,000-tonnne vessel MT Pavit with flag of Panama entered Indian waters in an apparent collaboration with the UK and US Defence agencies. (the letter is given below)

I also wish to draw your attention towards the sinking of MV Rak Carrier that was built in 1984 with IMO NO 8106745. This vessel that reportedly drifted about 20 Miles Off Mumbai on 4th August, 2011 also has a Panama flag.

I submit that it is apprehended that the 225 meters long Cargo Ship MV Rak Carrier carrying on board 60,000 tonnes of coal for Adani Enterprise Limited (AEL) was near India's Mumbai coast on the afternoon of 4th August, 2011 to claim insurance money for its cargo of 60054 MT cargo of coal on board unmindful of its ecological consequences and the hazardous nature for the ship itself. The real owner of the company which owns the ship is not known. It has been reported that it is owned by M/s. Delta Shipping Marine Services, a Qatar based company. There is a need to pierce the corporate veil behind this company to find out the real motives of such ship owners.

I submit that your committee may consider undertaking a inquiry into the dubious goings on in the shipping sector and the failure of Shipping Ministry in general and DG Shipping in particular.

I submit that the current presumption of genuineness of fabricated documents must be rejected urgently. I suggest that the documents of more than 100 ships that have entered or have been sunk must be investigated and their ownership be traced. This could be the first step in securing our environmental and maritime security which has been compromised by hazardous wastes traders and other vested interests.

I will be happy to share all the documents based on which I have made the above submissions.

Thanking You

Yours Faithfully
Gopal Krishna
Convener
ToxicsWatch Alliance (TWA)
New Delhi
Mb: 09818089660, 07739308480
E-mail:krishna2777@gmail.com
Web: toxicswatch.blogspot.com, imowatch.blogspot.com




---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Gopal Krishna
Date: Fri, Aug 5, 2011 at 11:11 AM
Subject: Ban on Dumping of Hazardous Obsolete Ships in Indian Waters
To: cabinetsy@nic.in
Cc: manmohan@sansad.nic.in, pkm@sansad.nic.in, hm@nic.in, anto.antony@sansad.nic.in, anto.antony@ymail.com


To

Dr Manmohan Singh
Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA)
Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS)
Government of India
New Delhi

Through Cabinet Secretary, Government of India

Subject-Ban on Dumping of Hazardous Obsolete Ships in Indian Waters

Sir,

This is to draw your immediate attention the entry of unmanned 21-year-old and 2,000-tonnne vessel MT Pavit with flag of Panama entered Indian waters in an apparent collaboration with the UK and US Defence agencies. Is it a coincidence that MV Rak Carrier that was built in 1984 with IMO NO 8106745 and has reportedly drifted about 20 Miles Off Mumbai on 4th August, 2011 also has a Panama flag?

The papers relied upon to prepare this letter are attached.

I wish to inform you that the vessel MT Pavit was built in Japan in 1990. It has flags of Comoros, located off the eastern coast of Africa and Panama southernmost country of Central America. It was last dry docked in August 2010.

I submit that M.V. “Global Purity” with a Panama flag reportedly had a collision on 23/3/2010 at Mumbai port. M.V. “MSC Chitra” which reportedly had a collision on too had flag of Panama at Mumbai port on 7/8/2010. The Panama flag merits probe.

I wish to draw your attention towards our Ministry of Defence's statement issued on July 31, 2011 stating, “Coast Guard MRCC (Mb) received information from MRCC Falmouth on 29 Jun 11 regarding drifting of MT PAVIT 110 nm from Ras al Madrakah Oman coast due to engine failure and ingress of water in engine room. Subsequently MT Jag Pushpa flagged India was diverted by UK MRCC to render assistance. MT Jag Pushpa rescued all 13 crew and brought to Sikka (a port in Gujarat). On 31 Jul 11 at about 1200 hrs Coast Guard Region Headquarters (West) received telephonic information from Juhu police regarding grounding of MT Pavit off Versova beach opposite Ruia park / Chandan cinema” in Mumbai. It reveals that the vessel has been drifting since June 29, 2011. The statement informed that “Coast Guard ship Amrit Kaur and helicopter ex 842 Sqn (CG) were deployed for preliminary assessment. The vessel was assessed to have been grounded at Juhu beach without any apparent damage. The vessel is double bottom and is having 10 mt Fuel oil and 10 mt Gas oil. (30 metric ton according to DG Shipping). Owner of vessel intimated vessel was reported sunk immediately on abandoning on 30 Jun / 01 Jul 11. The company is in the process of engaging salvor for removal of vessel from beach.”

The question is: when did it leave Sikka port and when it left the port was it with the crew or without crew? Who issued the port clearance at Sikka port. How it came to Sikka and how it left the port? The statement of the owner has been found to be untruthful by the officials too.The traceability of owner is a question, on behalf of ToxicsWatch Alliance (TWA), I have raised the issue repeatedly with concerned authorities but no action has been taken.

In another statement dated 31st July, 2011, Directorate General Shipping stated, “Today afternoon, this Directorate was informed that this vessel was seen drifting off the 7 bunglows beach area. Immediately, the coast guard and Navy were alerted and more information being gathered. The vessel's name is MT Pavit (IMO No. 9016636), 999 tons GT, Flag Panama type product tanker, classed with RINA and built 1990 ran aground off Versova Beach in position 19 07.11N / 072 45.9E. The Owners of the vessel are reported to be M/s Pavit Shipping Lines, Dubai, and Managers are Ms Prime Tankers LLC, Dubai. MT PAVIT was reportedly abandoned off Oman Coast on the 29th of June. 13 crew members, all Indians were on board who were rescued by a ship of Great Eastern shipping and a US naval warship on 29th June 2011 and brought to Kandla port. The vessel is reported to be without cargo. However, she is reported to have a total of about 30 MT of fuel/diesel/Lube oil. ETV Smit Lumba has already moved towards the MT Pavit to render emergency towing operations. This Directorate would carry out the statuatory inquiry to this incident.”

The question is: When the ship was abandoned “off Oman Coast on the 29th of June” then how did it come to Sikka? Whether the ownership of the ship was verified at the port. What was the purpose of the ship to come to Kandla, which is not a port for oil cargo. Before leaving Kandla, what cargo did it discharge and what cargo was loaded on it for the voyage. When it left Kandla did, the vessel get port clearance? When did the vessel become unmanned?.

I submit that so far Indian Ministry of Defence or Directorate General Shipping has not been able to disclose that UK’s Ministry of Defence rescued MT Pavit vessel as per its report dated 1st July, 2011. The question that remains undisclosed is: who is the owner of the real owner of this abandoned ship. (Statement from UK’s Ministry of Defence is attached). How did it reach Indian waters after its rescue by one of the ships of UK’s Royal Navy ship named HMS St Albans? This merits high level probe.

In a related statement dated 2nd August, 2011 from DG Shipping says, “A review meeting by the Directorate General of Shipping in the capacity Maritime Assistance Service (MAS) was held with the key Coastal State Authorities namely Indian Coast Guard, Maharashtra Maritime Board (MMB), the charterers, the Shipping Corporation of India (SCI), including the managers representative (Prime Tankers, Dubai), Local Correspondent of P & I Club and salvage companies showing expression of interest” wherein “The owners and manager i.e Prime Tankers has sent their representative to participate in the review meeting today. The Directorate has directed the owner / manager Prime Tankers to confirm their action plan to remove /salvage the grounded vessel immediately. The owners / managers were advised to seek the salvage services either from managers of the ETV or make their own arrangements at their cost, risk, and consequences. In the event of no response from the owner / manager, the Directorate General of Shipping can invoke Section 356 K of the Merchant Shipping Act 1958 and take up salvage operations with cost being recovered from the owner / manager. The local P & I club correspondent stated that the vessel is not having valid P & I cover against third party liabilities.”

It further states, “The District Administration has also been requested to issue notice to the owner, manager and underwriters etc. under Section 133 of the Code of Criminal Procedure 1973 as this vessel is become public nuisance. The investigation by the Police Authorities under Section 336 of the Indian Penal Code is in progress. The Flag Administration of the ship Panama and the Coastal Authority of Oman are being notified that the vessel has not sunk as reported earlier and therefore, they would be requested to conduct investigation under the relevant International Law and share vital information and findings in respect of safety of navigation and other related issues with the Indian Administration. The Indian Maritime Administration, District Authority including MMB and Indian Coast Guard are concerned about the safety of the ship and any damage to the Marine environment. In view of this, continuous monitoring is in progress and efforts are on for earliest removal of the ship.”

I submit that the ship must be sent back to the country of its origin at the cost of the owner to set an example for such culprits in future.

It has been reported that it is inexplicable as to how the Navy, responsible for security beyond 12 nautical miles; the Coast Guard, which patrols the zone between 5 and 12 nautical miles; and the newly created maritime police failed to detect the entry of this foreign vessel in Indian waters and it entered undetected by the three-tier security ring. Now it appears clear that the vessel was brought to Indian waters in close collaboration between the UK Ministry of US Defence Administration.

In a similar fashion, Singapore-flagged MV Wisdom (IMO Number: 8417558) had got stuck on Juhu beach, Mumabi in June, 2011. The vessel was successfully tugged away from Juhu beach on July 2 and resumed its journey to Alang beach, Gujarat where it reached on 19th July, 2011. There is need to examine its history and liability too. This vessel underwent 14 name changes in her life and no one knows how many owners. Is it not a reason to suspect its antecedents?

I submit that the corporate veil of M/s. Delta Shipping Marine Services, Qatar, owner of MV Rak Carrier, M/s Pavit Shipping Lines, Dubai, owner of MT Pavit, owner of MV Wisdom which was purchased by a consortium of Indian ship breakers in Singapore must be pierced to set matters right.

I submit that ships are routinely abandoned by unscrupulous ship owners when they have reached end-of-life or have become sea worthy or when they are dubious in order to hide the identity of the ship owning companies and to save them from its potential liability. Interpol's Environmental Crime and Pollution Crime Units may also be approached in this regard.

It is germane to pay attention to the minutes of a meeting of Inter Ministerial Committee (IMC), “Security concerns” about obsolete foreign ships entering Indian waters were expressed. The minutes dated on 8th July, 2011reads: “The representative of Coast Guard brought to the notice of IMC that various foreign made communication equipment like emergency beacons brought on board of the ships and taken to breaking yards are not properly deactivated before dismantling the ships. The Coast Guard expressed concern from security angle as there were a few incidents of false alarms emanating from such equipments. The Chairman, IMC directed the Customs representative and SRIA to take note of the concerns of the Coast Guard and ensure that all such equipments are properly deactivated.” Earlier, a 2004 report of the Directorate of Naval Intelligence filed in the Supreme Court recorded that "some ships arriving at the breaking yards...may be involved in nefarious activities". The report had warned, "Apparently, a large number of cash buyers are Pakistani nationals based in London and the UAE. Due to large profit margins, the Dawood group appears to have invested heavily in cash buyers thus having a stake in most deals". It noted that this "can lead to clandestine collection of data, survey of seabed and coastal area, weather and meteorological data and for dropping and picking agents". The report had recommended that Ministry of Defence must give clearance to all such ships but this has not been complied with.

Among others G.K. Panda of Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB), Mumbai, Cmdr Palvinder Singh, Joint Director (Security), Ministry of Defence (Navy), Cmdt H. Nautiyal, JD (FE), Indian Coast Guards Headquarters, New Delhi and S.S. Gadkar of DG Shipping, Mumbai were present at the meeting. The 13th meeting of the Inter Ministerial Committee (IMC) on ship breaking was held under Chairmanship of Shri S. Machendranathan, Additional Secretary and Financial Adviser, Ministry of Steel & Chairman, IMC on Ship Breaking at Gandhinagar, Gujarat.

The minutes read: “Regarding the concerns raised on false flag certification, the DG, Shipping representative suggested to all concerned to check up the database available with the website, ‘equasis.org.’ and to approach the DG, Shipping if details are not available therein, for exceptional reporting cases. It was also clarified by GMB that the requisite information would also be sent to MOD.”

It is noteworthy that “Equasis only shows ships in service.” The fact that M V Pavit is not revealed on this website too shows that the vessel was decommissioned, was end-of-life or abandoned to escape liability environmental liability. Essentially, such vessels are hazardous wastes which are transferred by industrialized and ship owning countries and their companies to developing countries like India, Bangladesh and Pakistan in blatant violation of Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal with impunity. It is also applicable to to hazardous wastes and other wastes generated on board ships . US is not a party to this Convention and EU and UK are undermining this hard earned UN law by supporting IMO’s Hongkong Convention on ship recycling/dismantling which is unlikely to come into force. EU and UK by downplaying their own legislations in order to facilitate transfer of hazardous wastes laden end-of-life vessels and are indulging in linguistic corruption in the Free Trade Agreements under negotiation to this end.

“Any transboundary movement (TBM) that takes place without the pertinent notifications to all the States concerned or the consent pursuant to the Convention, or when such consent is obtained through falsification, misrepresentation or fraud, it is considered illegal traffic under the Basel Convention . Illegal traffic also occurs when the transboundary movement does not conform in a material way with the documents or when it results in the dumping of hazardous wastes or other wastes in violation of the Convention and of general principles of international law. The fact that Parties (to the Convnetion) consider that illegal traffic is a crime says a lot about how serious the international community is to ensure that the TBM and ESM (environmentally sound management) requirements of the Convention are respected.”

TWA demands that no ship whether for dismantling or for shipping or in disguise of accidental snapping of towing cable of vessels 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 Hongkong Convention, page no. 39). As an applicant in the Supreme Court in a related matter of hazardous wastes/shipbreaking, TWA has repeatedly written to the IMC and other concerned agencies regarding the same.

TWA demands that all the details regarding the probe in the matter of MV Wisdom be put on website and the information regarding inquiry with deadlines in the matter M V Pavit be put on website for transparency because it is apprehended that there are some senior government officials who have mastered the art of collusion with transnational ship owning companies to allow obsolete vessels in the Indian waters. TWA had disclosed 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, wherein it has been admitted that the issue regarding the submission of fake certificates by the ship owners/agents remains unresolved. (Site Report attached)

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.” The recent incidents have shown that it is applicable to ships entering Mumbai coast zone as well.

While in a routine reaction, the Directorate has ordered statutory inquiry into these incidents, this not sufficient. A Group of Ministers on Corruption should examine the flourishing Black Economy in the matter end of life and abandoned vessels at the behest of ship owning countries and companies. The role of flag states must be investigated under the prevailing national and international law.

I submit that US toxic ship Platinum although indicted by US Environmental Protection Agency was dumped in India despite objection from Indian Environment Ministry following my complaint and documentary proof of forged documents due to apparent indulgence of some in Ministry of Shipping and Gujarat Maritime Board.

I submit that such presumption of genuineness of fabricated documents must be rejected urgently. I suggest that the documents of more than 100 ships that have entered or have been sunk must be investigated and their ownership be traced. This could be the first step in securing our environmental and maritime security which has been compromised by hazardous wastes traders and other vested interests.

I will be happy to share all the documents based on which I have made the above submissions.

Thanking You

Yours Faithfully
Gopal Krishna
Convener
ToxicsWatch Alliance (TWA)
New Delhi
Mb: 09818089660, 07739308480
E-mail:krishna2777@gmail.com
Web: toxicswatch.blogspot.com, imowatch.blogspot.com

Cc
Shri Pranab Mukherjee, Chairman, Group of Ministers (GoM) to consider measures that
can be taken by the Government to tackle corruption, Member, CCEA and CCS

Shri A.K. Antony, Minister of Defence, Member, CCS, CCEA, Group of Ministers (GoM) to consider measures that can be taken by the Government to tackle corruption

Shri P. Chidambaram, Minister of Home Affairs, Member, CCS, CCEA and Group of Ministers (GoM) to consider measures that can be taken by the Government to tackle corruption

Ban Dumping of Hazardous Obsolete Ships in Indian Waters

To

Shri Sitaram Yechury
Chairman
Parliamentary Standing Committee on Transport, Tourism & Culture
New Delhi

Through RAJYA SABHA SECRETARIAT


Subject-Ban on Dumping of Hazardous Obsolete Ships in Indian Waters

Sir,

This is to draw your attention to my letter to the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs and Cabinet Committee on Security in the matter of the entry of unmanned 21-year-old and 2,000-tonnne vessel MT Pavit with flag of Panama entered Indian waters in an apparent collaboration with the UK and US Defence agencies. (the letter is given below)

I also wish to draw your attention towards the sinking of MV Rak Carrier that was built in 1984 with IMO NO 8106745. This vessel that reportedly drifted about 20 Miles Off Mumbai on 4th August, 2011 also has a Panama flag.

I submit that it is apprehended that the 225 meters long Cargo Ship MV Rak Carrier carrying on board 60,000 tonnes of coal for Adani Enterprise Limited (AEL) was near India's Mumbai coast on the afternoon of 4th August, 2011 to claim insurance money for its cargo of 60054 MT cargo of coal on board unmindful of its ecological consequences and the hazardous nature for the ship itself. The real owner of the company which owns the ship is not known. It has been reported that it is owned by M/s. Delta Shipping Marine Services, a Qatar based company. There is a need to pierce the corporate veil behind this company to find out the real motives of such ship owners.

I submit that your committee may consider undertaking a inquiry into the dubious goings on in the shipping sector and the failure of Shipping Ministry in general and DG Shipping in particular.

I submit that the current presumption of genuineness of fabricated documents must be rejected urgently. I suggest that the documents of more than 100 ships that have entered or have been sunk must be investigated and their ownership be traced. This could be the first step in securing our environmental and maritime security which has been compromised by hazardous wastes traders and other vested interests.

I will be happy to share all the documents based on which I have made the above submissions.

Thanking You

Yours Faithfully
Gopal Krishna
Convener
ToxicsWatch Alliance (TWA)
New Delhi
Mb: 09818089660, 07739308480
E-mail:krishna2777@gmail.com
Web: toxicswatch.blogspot.com, imowatch.blogspot.com

03/08/2011

UK’s Ministry of Defence rescued MT Pavit, US Defence Warship brought it to Kandla

Press Note

UK’s Ministry of Defence rescued MT Pavit, US Defence Warship brought it to Kandla

MT Pavit’s Transboundary movement Compromises Environmental & Maritime Security

TWA Demands Ban on Dumping of Hazardous Obsolete Ships in Indian Waters

August 3, 2011 New Delhi: So far Indian Ministry of Defence and Ministry of Shipping have failed to reveal as to how did the unmanned 21-year-old and 2,000-tonnne vessel MT Pavit entered Indian waters in an apparent collaboration with the UK and US Defence agencies amid connivance by the UN’s Basel Convention Secretariat and UN’s International Maritime Organisation (IMO). MT Pavit built in Japan in 1990 has flags of Comoros, located off the eastern coast of Africa and Panama southernmost country of Central America. It was last dry docked in August 2010. Earlier, US toxic ship Platinum although indicted by US Environmental Protection Agency was dumped in India despite objection from Indian Environment Ministry.

Indian Ministry of Defence in a statement issued on July 31, 2011 states, “Coast Guard MRCC (Mb) received information from MRCC Falmouth on 29 Jun 11 regarding drifting of MT PAVIT 110 nm from Ras al Madrakah Oman coast due to engine failure and ingress of water in engine room. Subsequently MT Jag Pushpa flagged India was diverted by UK MRCC to render assistance. MT Jag Pushpa rescued all 13 crew and brought to Sikka (a port in Gujarat). On 31 Jul 11 at about 1200 hrs Coast Guard Region Headquarters (West) received telephonic information from Juhu police regarding grounding of MT Pavit off Versova beach opposite Ruia park / Chandan cinema” in Mumbai. It reveals that the vessel has been drifting since June 29, 2011. The statement informed that “Coast Guard ship Amrit Kaur and helicopter ex 842 Sqn (CG) were deployed for preliminary assessment. The vessel was assessed to have been grounded at Juhu beach without any apparent damage. The vessel is double bottom and is having 10 mt Fuel oil and 10 mt Gas oil. (30 metric ton according to DG Shipping). Owner of vessel intimated vessel was reported sunk immediately on abandoning on 30 Jun / 01 Jul 11. The company is in the process of engaging salvor for removal of vessel from beach.” The question is: when did it leave Sikka port and when it left the port was it with the crew or without crew? Who issued the port clearance at Sikka port. How it came to Sikka and how it left the port? The statement of the owner has been found to be untruthful by the officials too.The traceability of owner is a question, ToxicsWatch Alliance raised but no action has been taken.

In a statement dated 31st July, 2011, Directorate General Shipping stated, “Today afternoon, this Directorate was informed that this vessel was seen drifting off the 7 bunglows beach area. Immediately, the coast guard and Navy were alerted and more information being gathered. The vessel's name is MT Pavit (IMO No. 9016636), 999 tons GT, Flag Panama type product tanker, classed with RINA and built 1990 ran aground off Versova Beach in position 19 07.11N / 072 45.9E. The Owners of the vessel are reported to be M/s Pavit Shipping Lines, Dubai, and Managers are Ms Prime Tankers LLC, Dubai. MT PAVIT was reportedly abandoned off Oman Coast on the 29th of June. 13 crew members, all Indians were on board who were rescued by a ship of Great Eastern shipping and a US naval warship on 29th June 2011 and brought to Kandla port. The vessel is reported to be without cargo. However, she is reported to have a total of about 30 MT of fuel/diesel/Lube oil. ETV Smit Lumba has already moved towards the MT Pavit to render emergency towing operations. This Directorate would carry out the statuatory inquiry to this incident.” The question is: When the ship was abandoned “off Oman Coast on the 29th of June” then how did it come to Sikka? Whether the ownership of the ship was verified at the port. What was the purpose of the ship to come to Kandla, which is not a port for oil cargo. Before leaving Kandla, what cargo did it discharge and what cargo was loaded on it for the voyage. When it left Kandla did, the vessel get port clearance? When did the vessel become unmanned?.

So far Indian Ministry of Defence or Directorate General Shipping has not disclosed that UK’s Ministry of Defence rescued MT Pavit vessel as per its report dated 1st July, 2011. The question that remains undisclosed is: who is the owner of the real owner of this abandoned ship. (Statement from UK’s Ministry of Defence is attached). How did it reach Indian waters after its rescue by one of the ships of UK’s Royal Navy ship named HMS St Albans? This merits high level probe.

A statement from DG Shipping dated 2nd August, 2011 says, “A review meeting by the Directorate General of Shipping in the capacity Maritime Assistance Service (MAS) was held with the key Coastal State Authorities namely Indian Coast Guard, Maharashtra Maritime Board (MMB), the charterers, the Shipping Corporation of India (SCI), including the managers representative (Prime Tankers, Dubai), Local Correspondent of P & I Club and salvage companies showing expression of interest” wherein “The owners and manager i.e Prime Tankers has sent their representative to participate in the review meeting today. The Directorate has directed the owner / manager Prime Tankers to confirm their action plan to remove /salvage the grounded vessel immediately. The owners / managers were advised to seek the salvage services either from managers of the ETV or make their own arrangements at their cost, risk, and consequences. In the event of no response from the owner / manager, the Directorate General of Shipping can invoke Section 356 K of the Merchant Shipping Act 1958 and take up salvage operations with cost being recovered from the owner / manager. The local P & I club correspondent stated that the vessel is not having valid P & I cover against third party liabilities.”

It further states, “The District Administration has also been requested to issue notice to the owner, manager and underwriters etc. under Section 133 of the Code of Criminal Procedure 1973 as this vessel is become public nuisance. The investigation by the Police Authorities under Section 336 of the Indian Penal Code is in progress. The Flag Administration of the ship Panama and the Coastal Authority of Oman are being notified that the vessel has not sunk as reported earlier and therefore, they would be requested to conduct investigation under the relevant International Law and share vital information and findings in respect of safety of navigation and other related issues with the Indian Administration. The Indian Maritime Administration, District Authority including MMB and Indian Coast Guard are concerned about the safety of the ship and any damage to the Marine environment. In view of this, continuous monitoring is in progress and efforts are on for earliest removal of the ship.” TWA demands that the ship must be sent back to the country of its origin at the cost of the owner to set an example for such culprits in future.

It has been reported that it is inexplicable as to how the Navy, responsible for security beyond 12 nautical miles; the Coast Guard, which patrols the zone between 5 and 12 nautical miles; and the newly created maritime police failed to detect the entry of this foreign vessel in Indian waters and it entered undetected by the three-tier security ring. Now it appears clear that the vessel was brought to Indian waters in close collaboration between the UK Ministry of US Defence Administration.

In a similar fashion, Singapore-flagged M V Wisdom had got stuck on Juhu beach in June, 2011. Ships are routinely abandoned by unscrupulous ship owners when they have reached end-of-life or have become sea worthy or when they are dubious in order to hide the identity of the ship owning companies and to save them from its potential liability.

It is germane to pay attention to the minutes of a meeting of Inter Ministerial Committee (IMC), “Security concerns” about obsolete foreign ships entering Indian waters were expressed. The minutes dated on 8th July, 2011reads: “The representative of Coast Guard brought to the notice of IMC that various foreign made communication equipment like emergency beacons brought on board of the ships and taken to breaking yards are not properly deactivated before dismantling the ships. The Coast Guard expressed concern from security angle as there were a few incidents of false alarms emanating from such equipments. The Chairman, IMC directed the Customs representative and SRIA to take note of the concerns of the Coast Guard and ensure that all such equipments are properly deactivated.” Earlier, a 2004 report of the Directorate of Naval Intelligence filed in the Supreme Court recorded that "some ships arriving at the breaking yards...may be involved in nefarious activities". The report had warned, "Apparently, a large number of cash buyers are Pakistani nationals based in London and the UAE. Due to large profit margins, the Dawood group appears to have invested heavily in cash buyers thus having a stake in most deals". It noted that this "can lead to clandestine collection of data, survey of seabed and coastal area, weather and meteorological data and for dropping and picking agents". The report had recommended that Ministry of Defence must give clearance to all such ships but this has not been complied with.

Among others G.K. Panda of Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB), Mumbai, Cmdr Palvinder Singh, Joint Director (Security), Ministry of Defence (Navy), Cmdt H. Nautiyal, JD (FE), Indian Coast Guards Headquarters, New Delhi and S.S. Gadkar of DG Shipping, Mumbai were present at the meeting.

The minutes read: “Regarding the concerns raised on false flag certification, the DG, Shipping representative suggested to all concerned to check up the database available with the website, ‘equasis.org.’ and to approach the DG, Shipping if details are not available therein, for exceptional reporting cases. It was also clarified by GMB that the requisite information would also be sent to MOD.”

It is noteworthy that “Equasis only shows ships in service.” The fact that M V Pavit is not revealed on this website too shows that the vessel was decommissioned, was end-of-life or abandoned to escape liability environmental liability. Essentially, such vessels are hazardous wastes which are transferred by industrialized and ship owning countries and their companies to developing countries like India, Bangladesh and Pakistan in blatant violation of Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal with impunity. It is also applicable to to hazardous wastes and other wastes generated on board ships . US is not a party to this Convention and EU and UK are undermining this hard earned UN law by supporting IMO’s Hongkong Convention on ship recycling/dismantling which is unlikely to come into force. EU and UK by downplaying their own legislations in order to facilitate transfer of hazardous wastes laden end-of-life vessels and are indulging in linguistic corruption in the Free Trade Agreements under negotiation to this end.

“Any transboundary movement (TBM) that takes place without the pertinent notifications to all the States concerned or the consent pursuant to the Convention, or when such consent is obtained through falsification, misrepresentation or fraud, it is considered illegal traffic under the Basel Convention . Illegal traffic also occurs when the transboundary movement does not conform in a material way with the documents or when it results in the dumping of hazardous wastes or other wastes in violation of the Convention and of general principles of international law. The fact that Parties (to the Convnetion) consider that illegal traffic is a crime says a lot about how serious the international community is to ensure that the TBM and ESM (environmentally sound management) requirements of the Convention are respected.”

The 13th meeting of the Inter Ministerial Committee (IMC) on ship breaking was held under Chairmanship of Shri S. Machendranathan, Additional Secretary and Financial Adviser, Ministry of Steel & Chairman, IMC on Ship Breaking at Gandhinagar, Gujarat.

ToxicsWatch Alliance (TWA) demands that no ship whether for dismantling or for shipping or in disguise of accidental snapping of towing cable of vessels 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 Hongkong Convention, page no. 39). Even in the aftermath the abandonment of Sinagpore -flagged MV Wisdom on Juhu beach. As an applicant in the Supreme Court in a related matter of hazardous wastes/shipbreaking, TWA has repeatedly written to the IMC and other concerned agencies regarding the same.

TWA demands that all the details regarding the probe in the matter of MV Wisdom be put on website and the information regarding inquiry with deadlines in the matter M V Pavit be put on website for transparency because it is apprehended that there are some senior government officials who have mastered the art of collusion with transnational ship owning companies to allow obsolete vessels in the Indian waters. TWA had disclosed 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, wherein it has been admitted that the issue regarding the submission of fake certificates by the ship owners/agents remains unresolved.

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.” The recent incidents have shown that it is applicable to ships entering Mumbai coast zone as well.

TWA disapproves of such presumption of genuineness of fabricated documents. It demands that documents of more than 100 ships that have entered or have been sunk must be investigated and their ownership be traced.

For Details: Gopal Krishna, ToxicsWatch Alliance (TWA), Mb: 9818089660,

E-mail: krishna2777@gmail.com, Web: imowatch.blogspot.com