Toxic ship Platinum II inspected

      A three-member investigation team has started inspection of the US ship Platinum II for toxic materials. The three-member team comprising an official from the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), the Steel Ministry and the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) will submit its report by the end of the week. The team will inspect the ship and determine whether the cargo on board is toxic for environment. The Platinum II is allegedly loaded with highly dangerous toxic waste but was granted permission to dock earlier this month. The government''s move has had environmentalists protesting. The US ship was given permission to anchor on October 8 after a desk review wherein the Gujarat Maritime Board (GMB), the Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB) and the Central Customs Department gave it clearance. However, Komal Kant Sharma, owner of Leela Ship Breaking Company where Platinum II is supposed to dismantle, urged investigation team members not to go by rumours. "I will go by the guidelines given by the Supreme Court. The apex court had earlier granted permission to a ship, which had ten times more asbestos on board and ten times more toxic than Platinum II. We are capable of handling it. I urge team members not to go by rumours," said Sharma. The Supreme Court had passed a ruling that ships should be broken down in the country only after prior decontamination. Earlier in 2006, the Supreme Court had stopped French ship Clemenceau from entering Indian waters because of 500 tons of asbestos on it. In the same year, the court allowed Blue Lady, another French ship for breakage. Alang is one of the leading centres of the worldwide ship breaking and recycling industry.

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