Libertatem Magazine

Gujarat High Court Passes Interim Order to Allow Vessel To Receive Bunkers

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The Court directed that in light of the emergency and to avoid a blackout situation, the berthing of Defendant’s vessel be allowed so as to ensure the supply of food and fuel.

Submissions before the Court

Applicant’s Submissions

Mr. Bimal Rajasekhar learned advocate submitted that the present application was filed to seek directions for berthing of the Defendant Vessel for the supply of food and fuel. He further submitted that since the Vessels’ Certificates had expired, the Pipavav Port wasn’t permitting the vessel to be berthed. He submitted that the tugs didn’t have the requisite license to carry fuel. Mr. Rajasekhar stated that the crew’s emails suggested that the fuel onboard was about to be exhausted. He further submitted that the Applicant had already arranged for such supplies, in view of the emergency situation. Moreover, he submitted that this Court had already passed orders in identical situations for providing such provisions.

Mr. Rajasekhar further submitted that both the application and notice of today’s hearing were served to the port by email to those email ids through which the port had issued a communication in regard to the berthing of the vessel.

Applicant’s Prayers

The applicant had prayed that it was required that urgent orders be passed so that a total black-out situation for the Defendant’s vessel be avoided. It was in these circumstances that he had sought an order that the port urgently permits the vessel to berth to receive bunkers. 

Defendant’s Submissions

Ms. Paurami Sheth, Learned Advocate for the original Plaintiff, i.e. Respondent no. 6 submitted that since the vessel licence had expired, the port was hence, unwilling to permit the vessel to berth in absence of anyone indemnifying the port for any accident which may occur and that the port authorities had on earlier occasions agreed to supply provisions via tugs which was much cheaper than the berthing charges of around 18 Lakhs, so the Bunkers, etc. can be supplied via tugs, so that the expenses towards provisions, bunkers, etc. be paid out on priority basis from sale proceeds.

Mr. Manan Paneri the Advocate for Defendant No. 2 submitted that they had no objection in case the order be passed.

Court’s Directions

After hearing to the learned counsel for both the parties, the Court observed that Ms Paurami Sheth, Learned Advocate wasn’t able to differentiate this matter from prior instances where this Court had passed directions to provide supplies.

Keeping in view the condition of the crew and considering the earlier orders passed by this Court in similar circumstances, the order was passed that the Applicant be allowed to supply required necessaries and fuel to the Defendant vessel and all expenses incurred will be paid out on priority basis out of the sale proceeds of the Defendant’s vessel or in the case where arrest order would be vacated by the Court,  respondent owner or registered owner or the agents of the Defendant’s vessel won’t be permitted to sail off the Defendant vessel without discharging such debt.

In the first instance, Pipavav Port will have to put all efforts to arrange a tug that could supply fuel to the vessel. In case, the Applicant won’t be able to arrange a tug licensed to supply fuel by end of the day, the Port will have to permit the Defendant Vessel to be berthed for the limited purpose of supplying fuel so as to avoid a total black-out situation.

Registry to communicate the order through email to Port and customs at Pipavav at the email addresses as provided in arrest order dated 9 September 2020 and all concerned authorities were directed to act according to the same.

Further, it was directed that as the Learned Advocate for the original Plaintiff had objections in respect of payment of crew wages and repatriation charges which were accrued during the period of arrest, the present application will be adjourned to 3 March 2021 for such remaining reliefs. Reply, if any can be filed by 28 February 2021.

Click here to read the interim order. is now on Telegram. Follow us for regular legal updates and judgment from courts. Follow us on Google News, InstagramLinkedInFacebook & Twitter. You can subscribe to our Weekly Email Updates. You can also contribute stories like this and help us spread awareness for a better society. Submit Your Post Now.

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