Two years since the cargo vessel MV Meem was seized off the Alang coast in Gujarat and its crew left stranded, the Bombay high court has come to the aid of eight Indian crew members and two Syrians.
The high court on Friday directed the Mumbai port sheriff to immediately release a part of the pending salaries of these men.
On Friday, justice S C Gupte of the Bombay HC directed the port authorities and the vessel owners to pay all 10 men “25% of their due salaries from the sale proceeds of the vessel within the next five days.”
Justice Gupte has also ordered the Mumbai port authorities, the union and a local shipping agency to help repatriate the Syrians soon.
The order follows a plea from the men, who were on board the vessel when it was seized by Indian authorities on September 1, 2013, seeking they be paid their pending salaries. The vessel was coming from Panama and was to be dismantled and sold at Alang anchorage in Bhavnagar as scrap.
However, the insurers and fuel providers of the vessel had filed two separate suits in the Bombay HC and Gujarat HC after a tiff with the owner regarding payment of dues, resulting in the vessel being seized.
Since then, those on board the vessel have been left to fend for themselves.
According to port authorities, Rs 9.75 crore was recovered from the sale of the vessel as scrap.