Mumbai, Aug 1: The Bombay High Court has ordered sale of ship ‘M V Kamal 36', owned by the government of Ukraine and abandoned off the Mumbai coast, following a suit filed by its crew members for recovery of dues.
“The vessel which is practically unattended cannot be allowed to remain in its present condition more so when the deputy conservator has attended and informed this court that the vessel is in a precarious condition and likely to cause a disaster and has exposed the port itself to danger,” observed Justice S J Kathawala.
“The imminent danger to the life of two crew members on board of the said vessel as also to the port itself calls for urgent intervention by this court, which cannot be a mute spectator to the same. Hence, I direct that the said vessel M V Kamal XXXVI be sold,” the judge said while setting out a time frame, commencing today, for the sale of the vessel.
The judge said the court had earlier given the Ukrainian government an option to take the ship away but it did not act on this direction.
“They do not even want to take the vessel away. If there is a storm, what would you do? You have to navigate the vessel,” said the single bench judge yesterday.
Ten other dredging vessels and barges have been similarly abandoned near the city's coast. On July 30, the court had ordered sale of two other Indian ships, M V Kamal 33 and M V Kamal 29.
These ships, including M V Kamal 36, have been chartered by a Gujarat-based company Jaisu Shipping. Some of them are Indian vessels while few others are owned by foreign companies.
M V Kamal 36 is owned by Black Sea and Azov Sea Dredging Company (CHAMP), which is an enterprise of the State of Ukraine. Its representative urged the court not to allow the sale of the ship as he contended that the Gujarat-based charterer should take care of the vessel.
Bharat Singh, second officer of M V Kamal 36, who filed the admiralty suit, urged the High Court that the Mumbai Sheriff may be directed to sell the vessel and recover dues of about 150 stranded crew members.