The MV Oriental N will anchor off the Alang Ship Recycling Yard for inspection
The Gujarat Maritime Board (GMB) is allowing the MV Oriental N, formerly Exxon Valdez, to anchor off the Alang Ship Recycling Yard for inspection after the Customs on Thursday issued a “no objection” to its anchoring and subsequent inspection by a team of government officials.
The Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB) had given its nod on Wednesday, and the vessel is expected to anchor off Alang on Friday evening.
Separately, Delhi-based environmental activist Gopal Krishna, the petitioner in the ongoing case concerning the vessel’s entry into India for dismantling, wrote on Thursday evening to the CBI director and six Union ministers alleging the GMB’s nod is “in violation of Supreme Court orders” and that “its movement must be halted to demonstrate that Indian law enforcement agencies are not subservient to US’s ship disposal policy”.
Captain S Chadha, GMB’s port officer at Alang yard, said, “The Customs has given its no-objection certificate for inspection of the MV Oriental N. GPCB did so yesterday. The vessel is expected to arrive by tomorrow evening. It will anchor in sheltered water about three to four nautical miles from the shore, and an inspection team will most likely board and inspect it day after tomorrow.”
The matter is currently being heard in the Supreme Court following a petition by Gopal Krishna of Toxics Watch Alliance.
Krishna’s petition had asked that the Basel Convention (an international convention ratified by India) be implemented and the vessel be turned back because, he alleged, there has been no prior decontamination.
The ship, when it was Exxon Valdez, gained notoriety after it spilled estimated 2.5 lakh barrels of crude oil off Alaska in 1989. It has reportedly been an ore carrier since September 2008 and was cleared to be broken up in March 2012.
Three days ago, the Central government had told the SC that “it is the GMB which has to take a decision as to whether the ship concerned should be allowed into the concerned port for ship breaking”.
After observing that advocates for both GMB and the petitioner sought more time, the SC bench of Justices H L Gokhale and Ranjana Prakash Desai had ordered the matter to be placed “before the appropriate bench” on July 9.
Source: Express India