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US casino cruise may not be dismantled in Alang

Written By mediavigil on Wednesday, November 05, 2008 | 5:32 AM

AHMEDABAD/ALANG : Texas Treasure, the sparkling Rs 16-crore American cruise casino docked at Alang Ship Breaking Yard, may not be dismantled. Gujarat Maritime Board (GMB) has evinced interest in the ship as a tourist attraction in the state, owner of the ship told TOI.

Sameer Bhayani of Gautam Shipping Industries Private Limited, who bought the ship, said the business development cell of GMB has asked his company to send a quotation for selling the ship.

Captain YB Devalkar, general manager, business development, Gujarat Maritime Board, says, "I did contact Bhayani after coming to know of the ship. We are exploring the possibility of using the ship as a floating hotel. The state government is looking at beach development and as part of this, the government will have cruise ships and floating hotels at various beaches in the state. The government is exploring possibilities of saving this ship. If things work out, it will be a public-private partnership. If the ship is saved it will be first used as a floating hotel, but we are yet to decide on the spot," he said.

Officials of GMB have also asked permission to inspect the vessel. "Gujarat does not have any tourist attraction like this. It would be great if the ship is acquired and developed from a tourist point of view," says Bhayani.

Meanwhile, Bhayani said a Goa-based resort company has also contacted his company for acquiring the ship.

The 5,500-tonne ship was sold to Bhayani following the US economic slowdown. The ship can host 2,300 people and has 500 slot machines. It also has a huge dance floor and swimming pool.

"One thing is certain that Texas Treasure is not going as scrap," says Bhayani.

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