MT Dawn Kancheepuram, the ship
that polluted Chennai coast spilling around 200 tonnes of furnace oil after
colliding with LPG tanker vessel BW Maple, has got a reprieve with the Madras
High Court allowing it to sail out of Kamarajar Port after paying the agreed
Owners of the two vessels have
entered into an understanding and agreed to deposit Rs 240 crore, as claimed by
Tamil Nadu government, of which Rs 15 crore has already been paid to the
Department of Fisheries.
Submitting a joint memo of
compromise, which was recorded by a division bench of Justices M Venugopal and
S Vaidyanathan, the UKP&I Club, on behalf of the owners of BW Maple and MT
Dawn Kanchipuram, agreed to deposit Rs 141 crore, strictly without prejudice,
towards the various claims lodged by the fishermen, including the restoration
claims of Rs 10 crore, within 14 days. For the remaining amount, the owners of
both vessels have agreed to arrange for the execution of a bank guarantee for a
sum of Rs 84 crore within 21 days.
The oil spill caused havoc in the
lives of fisher communities in Chennai, Kancheepuram and Tiruvallur. State
fisheries department received a total of 1,12,051 claims. The fishermen have
been waiting for the compensation to be disturbed for the past 14 months. Now
that the insurers have agreed to deposit the money, the fisheries department
should be able to settle the claims.
Originally, owner of MT Dawn
Kancheepuram moved a plea before a single judge of the court for grant of port
clearance to allow the vessel anchored at Kamarajar port to be towed to
Vishakapatnam to carry out repairs. However, Advocate-General Vijay Narayan
challenged the plea stating the vessel cannot be permitted to sail out without
the payment of claim amount.
BW Maple has deposited Rs 203 cr
with DG Shipping for getting clearance. Accordingly, the single judge asked the
insurer of Dawn Kancheepuram to furnish a bank guarantee of Rs 188 crore in
favour of Director of fisheries. Contesting the order, the firm filed an
Insurers UK P & I Club and the Steamship Mutual Underwriting Association
Limited of BW Maple and
Dawn Kancheepuram had had meetings with
officials concerned and agreed to amicably resolve the claims arising out of
the collision and made the proposal of compromise, which was agreed upon by the
Tamil Nadu government.