Madras HC orders 'arrest' of Cambodian cargo ship

“A prima facie case is made out for ordering the arrest of the vessel ‘M V Lady Alla’,” Justice G Rajasuria said and directed the court registry to take steps to issue the necessary warrant.

Passing orders on a plea by Kozak Pavlo and Palagin Dmtro, two members of the ship’s crew, represented by power agent C D Rajesh Kumar, the judge ordered issuance of notice to the owners and other interested parties, returnable by March 8.Claiming that they were Ukranian nationals, the two crew members said they had joined duty on the vessel flying the Cambodian Flag and the owners Shipping and Trucks Company Ltd, London, had not paid the salaries and other benefits to the crew members for several months.

They said the crew were working under difficult circumstances since the ship reached Nagapattinam early last month with a cargo of China clay to be discharged at the port. The owners had not kept their promise of paying the wages before the ship reached Nagapattinam. The vessel, built in 1984, had become “unseaworthy” for want of proper maintenance, the two claimed.

It had become necessary to file the application for the “arrest” of the vessel with a view to recovering their wages and also following information that the owners were taking steps to engage a new set of crew members to sail the vessel outside the jurisdiction of the Madras High Court, they said.

The ship had anchored outside the Nagapattinam port after it was denied entry into Karaikal port, its destination, on a recent order by the Bombay High Court on a suit over a dispute between the seller and buyer of the cargo.

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