Lack of physical fitness puts ship inspectors at risk

Lack of physical fitness puts ship inspectors at risk

 But sometimes they may be at sea, literally, due to their lack of fitness. This is exactly what happened to a central team, which was sent to inspect a ship that came to Alang ship breaking yard in Gujarat last month.
Named Platinum-II, the ship was anchored off Bhavnagar after receiving the necessary permissions from the Gujarat government. The examination was hurriedly ordered by Union Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh in the wake of complaints that Platinum-II contained radioactive material and, therefore, could not be broken in Alang.

Headed by the industrial advisor from the Union Steel Ministry, the team comprised two scientists each from the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board and the Central Pollution Control Board office, Vadodara. By the time the team reached Bhavnagar, the ship was towed 42 nautical miles away to the high seas from the Ghogha port.
On the first day of their inspection, the team took a tug boat and reached the ship late afternoon. As dusk was about to fall, they returned without boarding the ship. On the second day — October 20 — they started at the break of dawn and reached Platinum-II early in the morning only to realise that it was a “dead” ship, which technically means a vessel without any self power, not even a generator.
The inspectors had no other alternative than to climb 40 feet up using the tug boat pilot’s monkey ladder in the middle of nowhere, risking their lives.
An increased pitch and roll of the sea — the high-tide was two days ago — made the climb even more difficult. After reaching the top deck, the scientists realised that they could not see ship’s inside as there was no power. The inspection was carried out using torch lights.

In their report submitted to Ramesh, the team members have made it clear that they are not cut up for this kind of job.
“The team faced great difficulties in carrying out the inspection. The dead vessel was far away from anchorage point and so much inside the sea. The inspection team consists of untrained experts not conversant with climbing the top of the ship in monkey ladder,” they reported.

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