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Tuesday, July 5, 2011

OSM Arena continues in murky waters - situation only worsening !!

Ships are constructed to sail on seas carrying cargo, passengers and move from place to place – perhaps OSM Arena is not destined for that…

I had earlier posted about the travails of South Korean flagged Bulk carrier being anchored dead outside the Chennai Port.  Here is the link to that :Korean Ship OSM Areana

I had also queried whether the ship was sold at all in the auction ?

Today’s TOI reports that there  appears to be no end in sight for the troubles of OSM Arena.  There was fresh trouble brewing as a Division bench recently had cancelled the sale ordered by the Madras high court  earlier, following a complaint from a Kolkata-based company on a previous business dispute.

The newspaper report quoting Kim Goeng Tai, the captain of the vessel, [telling  ToI over the phone]  that they had no food, drinking water or fuel on board. "There is a complete blackout. There are no lights and the signals don't work. We are also not safe on board as there are a lot of vessels passing through and we do not have any system to alert them of our presence," he said. The vessel, anchored 1.9 nautical miles off the Chennai port, could even collide with other vessels, the captain said.

An official delegation which visited the crew aboard the vessel said they were in a severely dehydrated state. There are reports that  the sailors' condition was worsening and that something needed to be done immediately. "The supplier had stopped the supply of food provisions and fuel. The vessel is in complete darkness, without even fuel or electricity,"

The vessel had arrived at Chennai in Feb 2010 and  was arrested on orders of the Calcutta high court in the matter of a business dispute with a Kolkata-based firm. The vessel owner then declared bankruptcy and abandoned the vessel but the supplier continued sending provisions until last week expecting that the sale of the vessel would come through and he would get his money back. In February this year, the Madras high court ordered the sale of the vessel on humanitarian grounds after hearing a complaint from the crew.   Even as the 14 crew members were anxiously awaiting the confirmation of sale and release of some money, the Kolkata-based firm approached the Supreme Court again questioning the amount fixed for the sale. Following the complaint, the Supreme Court directed Madras high court to review the case and a division bench of the high court cancelled the sale last week.

The forlorn vessel remains unattended, it has not sailed – the crew who are supposed to sail are all at sea, having not ventured in to the land – it must be a ghostly living on a dead vessel off the Port – so near the land and yet so far.

Strange are the occurrences and justice many a times gets delayed..

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.

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