Merchant vessel Nord Lake, which had collided with an Indian naval ship last month off the Mumbai coast, has been placed under civil arrest by the Bombay high court.
Justice SC Dharmadhikari on Wednesday directing the vessel not to leave the Indian waters.
On January 30, MV Nord Lake had collided with INS Vindhyagiri — a frontline Naval frigate of the Indian Navy — near the Sunk Rock Light House as it was proceeding in the channel out of the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) with a port pilot on board.
Additional solicitor general Darius Khambata, arguing on behalf of the Indian Navy, said the merchant vessel had caused damage of approximately Rs 1,000 crore to the naval ship.
“The ship was carrying engineering equipment and gunnery. We [the Navy] cannot even quantify the exact amount of damage because it is still half-submerged,” he argued.
Seeking civil arrest, Khambata pointed out that the vessel had disregarded traffic management system and basic safety norms. “Instead of proceeding on the starboard side, it proceeded towards the port, which caused the collision,” he added.
The 16,000-tonne cargo vessel had dragged the 2,800-tonne naval ship for about five minutes into high seas before INS Vindhyagiri dropped anchor. “A fire broke out in the ship due to the collision which caused a lot of damage,” argued Khambata.
Counsel Prashant Pratap and advocate Manoj Khatri, who are representing the Sea Consortium Shipping (India) Private Limited — the agent of MV Nord Lake, informed the court that the ship should be exempted for discharging the perishable cargo, at JNPT.
Assuring the court that the vessel will return to the Mumbai Port Trust, Pratap said the customs authorities would supervise the vessel.
“Also the channel is the same and is monitored by the customs,” said Pratap.
MV Nord Lake has started for JNPT on Wednesday after all the authorities concerned – the navy, director general of shipping, Yellowgate police station and the Jawahar Customs, did not object. Khatri said they are expected to return to the Mumbai Port Trust in a day or two.