The Supreme Court (SC) yesterdayapproved dismantling the massive crude oil tanker Exxon Valdez that led to one of the worst-ever oil spills in Alaska in 1989. The tanker will be dismantled in Alang.
In its order, the two-judge bench headed by Altamas Kabir said the Oriental Nicety, formerly known as Exxon Valdez, could be anchored and dismantled at the Alang ship-breaking yard. The 213,000-tonne tanker was set to arrive at Alang on 9 May.
The Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB), however, refused permission till SC disposed of a petition by Delhi-based activist Gopal Krishna, calling for barring the vessel from coming to India on the grounds that it contained "toxic" waste.
According to Krishna, it was disappointing that the toxic-laden vessel had been given entry into Indian water, given that the ship posed an environmental threat because it had asbestos and heavy metals aboard, he added.
Exxon Valdez, which was converted into an ore-carrying vessel following the Alaska oil spill, was acquired by Alang-based Blue Oasis, a subsidiary of Priya Blue Industries led by Sanjay Mehta. The 300-metre-long vessel is believed to have been purchased from China-based COSCO Shanghai Ship Management company for $16 million.
The vessel is currently anchored around six nautical miles off Alang with its 16-member Indian crew.