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StarBulletin.com

Ex-Hawaii cruise ship Independence now moored off India


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POSTED: Sunday, December 27, 2009

QUESTION: Whatever happened to the former Hawaii-based cruise ship the SS Independence?

ANSWER: The SS Independence was one of two interisland cruise ships stranded when American Classic Voyages Co. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in October 2001.

In November 2001, the Star-Bulletin reported the 860-passenger vessel “;that had been cruising around the islands since 1980, sailed out of Honolulu Harbor Oct. 30, escorted by a harbor fire boat, bound for San Francisco and mothballs at best, but probably headed for the scrap yard.”;

According to news reports, the Independence appears to be the mystery ship known as the Platinum II that was barred from docking at a ship scrap yard off the west coast of India because of environmental and pollution concerns.

The vessel reached Indian waters in October, but was not allowed to dock at the Alang ship-breaking yard until an investigation was completed.

India's Ministry of Environment and Forests said it inspected Platinum II and found the ship contained toxic material, according to a BBC report.

A note from the Ministry to the Gujarat Maritime Board—which leases dock space at Alang for ship scrappers—said the ship violated the U.S. Toxic Substances Control Act. There also were allegations that the ship was brought to India with a falsified flag and registry, according to the BBC report.

Alang is Asia's largest ship-breaking yard, where workers manually take apart ocean liners using very basic tools. The practice has raised environmental and pollution concerns among activist groups.

According to the Web site Handyshippingguide.com, a news information site for the freight and shipping industry, the Platinum II remains moored, awaiting word on its ultimate fate. The Independence became property of the U.S. Maritime Administration after American Classic Voyages' bankruptcy.

Handyshippingguide.com reports that the ship, also formerly known as the Oceanic, was transferred and moved to various destinations before being renamed and turning up as the Platinum II.