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Govt bans asbestos ship from Gujarat beaching

New Delhi: Union environment minister Jairam Ramesh on Monday advised the Gujarat government and other agencies not to allow the beaching and dismantling of the controversial Platinum II ship at Alang. ??An office memorandum sent from the Union ministry states, "...in keeping with the 'Precautionary Principle', the ministry is of the view that granting permission for beaching and breaking purposes of the ship will not be advisable." ??The memorandum said, "It has been brought to the notice of the ministry of environment and forests that the ship violated United States Toxic Substances Control Act and an order has been passed by the US Environment Protection Authority against the owners of the ship." It also pointed out that there have also been allegations that the ship has been brought into India with a falsified flag and registry. It asked the Gujarat Maritime Board to look into the case of falsified ownership of the ship that had come under the scanner of the government and the civil society recently. ??The ministry's decision came after the Gujarat Pollution Control Board had confirmed that the ship was laden with toxic materials. Consequent to the GPCB report, the Centre had sent its own team which reported that the ship did contain asbestos and cancer causing Poly Chlorinated Biphenyls though not in loose form but as part of the components in the ship. ??Documents had also surfaced showing that the ship had been brought in under false pretences to Indian waters and its ownership was not clear. Its Kiribati flag registration is thought to be false.  [10/11/09]

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