Central team completes inspection of toxic ship Platinum II

      A three-member investigation team has completed inspection of the US ship Platinum II for toxic materials. The team led by SA Das, industrial advisor to steel Ministry, is set to submit its report to the Ministry of Environment and forests on October 23. The team, which included two members each from the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board, Mumbai, and the Central Pollution Control Board, Vadodara, inspected the ship for almost three hours. 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 inspection team however refused to divulge details regarding their findings. "We have done our job and now we supposed to go back to Delhi and give report. We are not supposed to disclose anything. It is the Ministry of Environment and Forest that is supposed to disclose anything," said Das. The damage content or the presence of radioactive material is not yet known. "There are some problems which is visible. But they are only basically polluted items, but we do not know the damage content," added Das. 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. 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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