Thieves strike at ship anchored for breaking off Gujarat

Gandhinagar, June 7 (IANS) Two people have been arrested for theft on a ship anchored in Gopinath off the Saurashtra coast in Gujarat when security on it was withdrawn in view of cyclone Phet that was earlier expected to hit the state, police said Monday.

The theft was reported on Platinum-II, which was denied permission for dismantling at the Alang shipbreaking yard near Gujarat’s Bhavnagar in 2008, the police said.

A part of the stolen material has been recovered, police said, adding that search for three other thieves was going on.

Platinum-II was denied berthing permission in November 2008 for dismantling following objections by activists who said it contained large quantities of toxic material.

It has remained anchored in sea off the Saurashtra coast ever since.

According to Bhavnagar crime branch officers, the ship was looted of goods – copper and brass plates – worth about Rs.18 lakh when the security on it was withdrawn in view of the cyclone threat. The theft took place during this period.

The ship ran into controversy and was caught in a tug of war between the owners and activists who wanted it to be prevented from berthing at Alang for dismantling.

Subsequently, a high-level team of the union government examined the vessel Oct 20, 2008, and following its report it was denied berthing permission at Alang.

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