Monday, May 7, 2012

Enrica Lexie leaves Cochi ............


It has been long winding tale for the vessel for more than 80 days from that  ill-fated day on 15th Feb 2012 when two Indian fishermen were shot dead close to their shores, the vessel Enrica Lexie has been muddled with controversy, and now there are confirmed news of its leaving the Indian shores on 5th May 2012 for Colombo.  The ship was allowed to weigh anchor after its owners furnished a demand draft for Rs 3 crore as surety before the high court of Kerala.

‘Anchor Aweigh’ is a Marine phrase indicating the final preparation of a sea vessel for getting underway.  It literally means raising the anchor of hhe vessel from the sea floor and pulling it up for leaving – not sure whether Enrica Lexie would have been tied to the Port or had had its anchor for mooring…….- the fact is the vessel is gone now ! – the two Marines are still in Prison.  Last week, the Apex Court of the Country paved the way for its conditional release, after the shipping firm, Dolphin Tankers, had submitted a bond for Rs 3 crore and an undertaking to present the remaining four marines and crew members as and when required for further investigation.

Further drama was to unfold as reportedly, the Registrar of the High Court of Kerala insisted on a DD or FD for a like amount to be furnished to facilitate the release of the vessel. The counsel substituted the bond with a demand draft drawn from Standard Chartered Bank and obtained the release order.  Reports of Times of India state that the  ship's owners were planning to file a contempt of court petition in the Supreme Court as the Apex had allowed furnishing of bond where as the High Court insisted on a DD.  Now Enrica Lexie is back to business having caused considerable impact on Indian waters and some loss to other parties who had to pay demurrage for no fault of theirs. 

Reports that the vessel left the outer sea off Kochi at 11.10 pm on 5/5/23 getting release order from the Kerala High Court.  Within an hour of getting clearance from the Cochin Port Trust, the vessel lifted its anchor and got ready for the voyage.  After receiving the Court order for release, the owners obtained emigration clearance from the Customs also.  When the ship set off to sail, the Captain came forward and waved at the police officials.  The port officials and coastal police were also reported to be present.

Sources quoting Registrar General’s office,  stated that the reason for seeking  a banking guarantee in such a case was part of the discretionary powers of the Registrar.  It was stated that the  parties involved in the case are foreign citizens and hence the requirement of  bank guarantee in addition to a bond given on a `100 stamp paper.  The Office also clarified hat the Court sought to know the financial status of the Shipping company. 

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.

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