Chennai: The Madras High Court has ordered the "arrest" of coal cargo, valued at about Rs 15 crore, lying at Tuticorin port, after a Singapore-based firm did not pay freight and discharge charges for the chartered operator of the vessel and other service providers.
Justice S Tamilvanan, who concurred with the submissions of advocate S Vasudevan and ordered the "arrest" of the cargo,has appointed advocate S Palanimuthu as advocate-commissioner to oversee the sale of the cargo through tender process.
Vasudevan said Victory Shipping Private Limited was thechartered operator of the vessel M V Beautiful Rena and it brought more than 54,000 tonnes of steam coal from Indonesia as per the orders placed by the Singapore-based Vericom International.
However, even after the vessel reached Tuticorin port, the Singapore company could not pay for the freight and other charges, as it was still scouting for a buyer for the cargo. Owing to inordinate delay, Victory Shipping moved the court for the "arrest" of the vessel and the cargo.
Justice Tamilvanan directed the discharge of the cargo atTuticorin and also appointed Palanimuthu as advocate-commissioner to sell the cargo by following due tender process.
On his part, Palanimuthu informed the court that the cargo needed to be disposed off as early as possible because the self-combust coal would get reduced into ash in course of time. If cargo value dips, it would be difficult to get back the money spent on safeguarding the cargo and meet legitimate freight charges, he said.
The freight and discharge charges would account for about Rs seven crore, Vasudevan said, adding, the tender process has already started.