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Why no action taken against owner of sunken ship, asks HC

Last updated on: March 1, 2012 19:01 IST

Why no action taken against owner of sunken ship, asks HC

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Observing that prima facie the Director General Shipping acted outside the jurisdiction while imposing ban on the ships insured by a Romanian firm, Bombay high court on Thursday asked why no action was taken against the owner of M V Rak, which sank off Mumbai last year.

"Prima facie your (DG Shipping's) jurisdiction to impose ban seems to be doubtful. Why have you not even issued notice against the owner of the vessel? Have you initiated any inquiry against the owner?" the division bench of Justices P B Majmudar and R D Dhanuka said while hearing the petition filed by the insurance firm Astra Asigurari Insurance and Reinsurance against the ban.

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Image: Cargo vessel MV RAK


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Why no action taken against owner of sunken ship, asks HC

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DG Shipping, on September 2 last year, passed an order prohibiting entry of all ships insured with the petitioner company into any Indian port. The ban followed the insurer's refusal to pay for the ecological damage caused by the oil spill from M V Rak.

Arguing for the insurer, senior counsel Venkatesh Dhond said that another cargo vessel, MV Oranus, which delivered goods at Kandla in Gujarat on February 14 and February 15, was not allowed entry into Mumbai on February 19.

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Image: Oil leaking from cargo vessel MV Rak reaches Juhu beach
Photographs: Sahil Salvi

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Why no action taken against owner of sunken ship, asks HC

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Dhond said DG had issued the order stating that the company, which had insured the Panama-flagged MV Rak, had not borne the cost of the environmental damage caused by the MV Rak, which sank 20 miles off the city's coast on August 4, 2011.

"They (DG Shipping) have not targeted the owner of the carrier, but are indulging in arm-twisting tactics with the insurance company by blacklisting it," Dhond argued.

The court on Thursday directed the DG Shipping to file reply by March 10.

 


Image: Oil from cargo vessel MV Rak has spread to Mumbai's beaches
Photographs: Sahil Salvi/Rediff.com
Tags: Dhond , MV Rak , DG , HC

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