The Bombay High Court allowed an under-arrest vessel anchored at Mumbai port to move temporarily to safe waters due to cyclone Nisarga.
On June 2, a single Bench of Justice A.K. Menon was hearing an application on behalf of the vessel, MV Karnika, which has been under arrest due to a 30 crore dispute among the owners. The application said the ship was lying at Y1/Y/2 Anchorage at the port of Mumbai since the order of arrest on March 17.
Advocate S. Priya said the vessel is a 14-deck passenger cruise ship and has 63 crew members aboard. As per reports assessed by the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), the cyclone is fast approaching and will be moving across Maharashtra towards Gujarat, she informed. The applicant contended that considering the sheer size of the vessel, it may be impacted by the cyclonic weather and may also cause damage to other vessels. The application sought permission for the vessel to temporarily go out of Mumbai to safer waters, probably beyond territorial waters, while under arrest, and return after the cyclone has passed.
The court said, I am of the view that MV Karnika and her crew and others must not be imperiled and must permitted to leave for safer waters, as may be suggested by the Port Trust in consultation with the master of the vessel, so as to avoid the path of the cyclone.
In the six page order, the court permitted the temporary relocation of the said vessel on several conditions while under arrest. Most importantly, the master of the vessel, the chief officer, staff, and chief engineer were directed to surrender their passports by handing over the same to the pilot nominated by the Port Trust. They will board the ship in order to ensure safe pilotage out of the harbour and upon collecting the said passports, the same will be handed over promptly by the pilot to the deputy conservator who will retain them in safe custody.