Italian oil tanker Enrica Lexie, detained off Kerala coast since February 15 after its Marines shot dead two Indian fishermen, on Saturday sailed off from Kochi for Colombo after completion of all legal formalities, including execution of a bond for Rs 3 crore.
The ship set sail from the Cochin Port's outer harbour at 11 pm on Saturday, coastal police sources said.
Port authorities permitted the vessel to leave the outer harbour where it was berthed for about 80 days on receipt of a fax message from the Kerala high court registrar general permitting the ship to leave Kerala waters and after completion of all other formalities, port sources said.
Earlier, the registrar general of the high court had permitted the release of the vessel after the ship's owner executed a bond for Rs three crore and submitted a demand draft for an equal amount.
Pio Shiano, managing director of Dolphin Tankers Ltd, the ship owner, executed the bond and presented the DD to high court Registrar General B Kamal Pasha this afternoon and got the release order of the vessel.
Two marines from the vessel Lattore Massimiliano and Salvatore Girone, who had allegedly shot dead the two Kerala fishermen Valentine alias Jelestine and Ajesh Binki suspecting them to be pirates, were arrested and have been charged with murder. They are lodged in Thiruvananthapuram Central Jail.
On a petition by Italy and the ship's owner, the Supreme Court had on May 2 allowed the release of the vessel after directing them to execute a bond for Rs three crore and on an undertaking that six other marines on the vessel would be brought before Indian court when required.
Italy had maintained that Kerala government had no locus standi to register any criminal case as the alleged offence ought to be treated under international law and covenants, as India is a signatory to the United Nations Charter.