Following legal advice in view of the pending Supreme Court case, the Gujarat Maritime Board (GMB) has said it will not allow the MV Oriental N, formerly Exxon Valdez, to beach for dismantling before the next hearing on July 9.
Separately, every agency apart from the Customs department had submitted their reports to the GMB by Monday evening.
None have found a reason to disallow beaching and subsequent dismantling of the ship because no loose hazardous wastes were found aboard and all documents were in order, officials said, adding the vessel had also been converted from an oil tanker to an ore carrier, as its owners had told them. Monday’s decision means the controversial ship and its crew will likely remain anchored away from the shore for at least another 10 to 15 days from now even if permission to beach is granted in the intervening period or the apex court decides similarly.
Port authorities explained this is because the tide has just fallen and spring tide, dependent on the moon, would take that much more time to return. The large vessel would need a good tide to sail smoothly onto Alang’s beach.
Currently, the MV Oriental N is anchored about six nautical miles from the Bhavnagar shore, about two nautical miles north of Piram Bet, a small, uninhabited island owned by the erstwhile Maharaja of Bhavnagar. The MV Oriental N gained notoriety after it ran aground and spilled more than a lakh barrels of crude oil onto Alaska’s coast in 1989.
It was then called the Exxon Valdez. Activists have been trying to stop the 26-year-old ship’s entry into India for dismantling.
One of them had filed a petition in the Supreme Court, which is currently being heard.
Date: July 3, 2012 Read more