HC allows Hong Kong firm to tow drifting ship

Jun 19, 2013, 01:33 IST | PTI

The Bombay High Court today allowed a Hong Kong-based company, prospective buyers of MT Pratibha Tapi, which has started drifting towards the city shores, to arrange for the logistics to tow the oil tanker and provide fuel to another ship MT Pratibha Indrayani.

Justice S J Kathawalla asked the company Best Oasis Ltd to submit the towage plans of the Tapi vessel, that included arranging towing boats, to the Indian Registrar of Shipping (IRS) and the Directorate General of Shipping at the earliest, which will then grant clearance. 

Senior counsel Venkatesh Dhond, appearing for Best Oasis, said the company was willing to finance the towing of the vessel. "The towing will be done by another company which will provide two tug boats," he said. Oil tankers MT Pratibha Tapi and MT Pratibha Indrayani, belonging to the Pratibha Shipping Company Limited, had been anchored 11 nautical miles from the Mumbai shore since December last after the owner firm ran into financial crisis.

The oil tankers had been put under arrest following the Bombay high court order after the owner company failed to settle the maritime board's claims.

Last week, Pratibha Tapi dragged anchor at a slow rate and started drifting towards the city coast. The vessel has drifted to a position at 2.3 nautical miles from the nearest coast line which is Mudh Island while Pratibha Indrayani is maintaining its position. With a view to avoid grounding or further drifting of the ship, the DG Shipping yesterday deployed tug boats to keep Pratibha Tapi afloat.

Best Oasis today informed the court that it would provide fuel and adequate crew to Pratibha Indrayani for it to sail to another port. Both the vessels are likely to be taken to Alang port in Gujarat. 

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