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300 ‘dead’ ships a security threat to India?

Written By Gopal Krishna on Sunday, December 13, 2009 | 12:52 AM

New Delhi/Dec. 10: Following on the heels of the contaminated Platinum 2 ship, which entered the Indian waters carrying fake papers, another 300 "dead" ships are readying to follow suit. With large numbers of ships being found with forged papers, these lapses could end seeing the Gujarat coastline emerging once again as a security threat. Indian Platform of Shipbreakers, coordinator, Gopal Krishna has shot off a letter to Union minister of forests and environment (MoF&E) Jairam Ramesh on Thursday citing the example of Platinum 2 entering with falsified flag and registry.

The letter highlights that despite the ministry’s advisory letter issued in November asking the Gujarat Maritime Board (GMB) to probe allegations as to how Platinum 2 was allowed to enter, no follow up action has been undertaken so far.

The letter emphasises that "The dead ship is still at anchorage in Bhavnagar in Gujarat. But since no one knows who owns this ship or how it entered into an MoU with the GMB, this has become a matter of grave security threat to the country." Iron Steel Scrap and Shipbreaking Association of India, president, Pravin Nagarsheth confirms that the trend of ships being allowed to dock in the Gujarat coastline without adequate papers has become rampant.

"More and more ships are being brought in without clear identification of the owners and the port of registration. Its important to correct this for the security of shipbreakers and for the country as a whole," Mr Nagarsheth said.

He further added that in case of almost 200 ships that have docked, the post of registry before desk clearance has not been properly investigated.

Mr Krishna, who is at the forefront of a legal battle against breaking of contaminated ships at Alang, said the Platinum-2 owner allegedly lied that the erstwhile US warship was registered with Singapore-based Kiribati Ship Registry.

He said the registry’s operations manager, Liau Siew Leng had informed him that neither the Platinum-2 nor its tug Barracuda-I was registered with them.

The ship. according to the complaint lodged with the Indian authorities, carries hazardous waste.

Rashme Sehgal
The Asian Age
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