Bombay High Court relief for 16 sailors stuck on ship at JNPT
The Bombay high court (HC) on Wednesday issued a directive allowing 16 sailors stuck on board the Tag Navya, anchored off Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT), to disembark after spending over three months on the vessel.
The directive followed the failure of the Union of India and ship’s owners to come up with a solution of their own.
The vacation bench of justice AS Gadkari and justice NJ Jamadar, after hearing of the plight of the sailors, through a petition filed by Arjun Kalra, captain of the ship, on May 10 had directed the Union to provide fuel to the vessel to keep it running. The court had also instructed the government to have a joint meeting with all stakeholders to take a decision regarding the situation of the sailors.
The ship had been arrested and anchored off JNPT by the sheriff of Mumbai as the company owning the ship had not paid its creditors their dues. The company had gone into liquidation and an interim resolution professional (IRP) had been appointed.
Advocate Atharva Dandekar for Kalra and eight other sailors had pointed out that the conditions on the ship were not conducive for the crew and they could not be asked to stay on board till the matter was resolved by the owners. Hence, they sought permission to disembark.
“In these extreme and emergent circumstances, we cannot afford not to intervene, so as to protect the lives of hapless crewmen, on the ground that monetary claim and counter claims await adjudication before various forums,” the bench said on Wednesday.
The court went on to rule that the crew be allowed to disembark with immediate effect and also safeguarded them against any civil and/or penal consequences for disembarkment.