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No radioactive material found in Maltese ship off TN coast

November 20, 2009 22:42 IST

After a day-long search of a Malta-registered ship following an anonymous call that it contained radioactive material, authorities allowed it to anchor inside the Chennai port. on Friday, as they found "no apparent radioactivity" in the vessel.

Security agencies and nuclear experts conducted the checks of MV Garland, bound for Singapore from Visakhapatnam, after the call was received by customs authorities on Thursady night.

"Nothing is found in the ship. It will be allowed to anchor," Chennai Port Trust authorities said but did not specify when, as five more ships were waiting to anchor. Coast Guard and Navy personnel, besides scientists from Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research, Kalpakkam, searched the ship thoroughly before giving a clearance.

Police officials, quoting nuclear experts, had earlier said "no apparent radioactivity" was found in the ship after preliminary checks. Though police had earlier said the vessel would leave for Singapore after clearance, port officials clarified that it would do so only after loading goods at Chennai port.

Speaking to media-persons, Chennai Port Trust Chairman Captain Subhash Kumar said MV Garland had come to Chennai on November 17 and filed papers for anchoring saying it contained nearly 10,000 tonnes of cement and other construction material. Police said it also contained granite.

On examining the ship, Kumar said "the purpose of this (checks) is also to have alertness at all times. We cannot ignore the security of the coast, especially ports."

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