Written by Sharad Vyas
1 January 2016 – The location of the tug vessel Gauntlet that was pulling the stranded ship Horizon Trader , which is apparently laden with organic pollutants and radioactive substances, has now been recorded at latitude 18.94535 and longitude 70.9733 off the coast of Maharashtra.
According to the Basel Action Network (BAN), the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC), Mumbai, and the Coast Guard have not been able to track Horizon Trader as it was being towed by MISS Gaunt (or Gauntlet ). It was last seen in Mauritius waters and the port authorities there listed the tug MISS Gaunt as towing Horizon Trader . The two have since been separated and remain untraceable for Indian authorities looking for them south off Mumbai. As on December 30, the vessels were set to move toward Alang port in Gujarat.
The vessel is owned by US shipping company Matson Inc, which has sold Horizon Trader for primitive ship breaking at Alang. The 42-year-old ship was last owned by All Star Metals of Brownsville, Texas. BAN has also obtained the original memorandum of agreement for the sale of the ship, which stipulated that the buyer would responsibly recycle the vessel in the US.
BAN, an international toxic waste watchdog, had flagged off the American vessel Horizon Trader , which has falsely claimed blackout but reportedly has the intention of dumping toxic waste into Indian waters. The ship, according to the network, is laden with Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs), asbestos and possibly radioactive substances, putting the country’s maritime security and environment at risk.
“The Gauntlet has restricted mobility because it is towing the Trader but as soon as the tug leaves the vessel it appears there is no way of keeping track of the Trader, ” said New Delhi-based activist Gopal Krishna of Toxic Watch Alliance.