The Bombay High Court paved way for the sale of the private commercial ship MV Global Purity, which had collided with and badly damaged Indian Coast Guard vessel ICGS Vivek on March 20.
The high court rejected the plea of Asian Shipping Company that owns the private vessel, seeking its release for failing to submit the bank guarantee of Rs 169.14 crore — the damages claimed by the Coast Guard.
Global Purity collided with ICGS Vivek when it was undergoing repairs at the Indira Dock. On April 16, the high court ordered arrest of Global Purity following a suit filed by the Coast Guard.
Vivek’s Commanding Officer, Deputy Inspector General M A Warsi has filed a suit seeking interim orders to arrest the private vessel and subsequently sell it to recover damages.
Following the arrest order, Asian Shipping Company moved the high court seeking their ship’s release after submitting the bank guarantee of Rs 133.83 crore. The company’s lawyer contended that the purpose behind the arrest was to sell it and recover the damages and therefore the company had offered to submit bank guarantee to the extent of its value — Rs 133.83 crore.
They disputed the amount of damages shown by Coast Guard saying Vivek was not valued beyond US $2.5 Million (Rs 110.97 crore).
Additional Solicitor General D.J. Khambata defended the contention saying there was no nexus between Coast Guard’s claim of damages and the value of the private vessel.
A single judge bench of Justice R.Y. Gaboo rejected Asian Shipping’s plea observing: “The security sought to be furnished by the defendants is inadequate and if such an order is passed, the interest of the plaintiffs will not get protected.”
Justice Ganoo said that Asian Shipping had not challenged any heads under Coast Guard’s claim and therefore the claim could not be reduced in the absence of valid reasons.
The judge also noted that Asian Shipping Company had not paid dues of Mumbai Port Trust and if the vessel is released, port trust’s claim will go unprotected.