- The German company that owned MV Nordlake said that three ships were coming up behind it at the time
- The Central government sued over the seizure of the MV Nordlake and asked for Rs 1,397 crore in damages.
Twelve years after the Indian Naval Ship (INS) Vindhyagiri sank after colliding with a merchant ship, the Bombay High Court ruled that the container carrier was allowed to limit its liability for the losses and damages caused by the accident to nearly Rs 30 crore.
The court told the owner of the Merchant Vessel Nordlake (MV Nordlake) that he or she is only responsible for 27,89,234 Special Drawing Rights (SDR), which is about Rs 30 crore. This is much less than what the Central government wanted, which was Rs 1,397 crore.
In an order from last week, a single bench of Justice N J Jamadar said that a ship owner’s right under section 352A of the Merchant Shipping Act to limit his liability was “absolute and regardless of whether the ship owner was at fault or not.”
The court also said that interest will be added to the principal amount of the SDR at a rate of 12.75 percent per year from January 30, 2011 (the date of the accident) until February 20, 2023.
But the bench put off its decision for six weeks so that the Centre could appeal to the Supreme Court.
On January 30, 2011, the MV Nordlake was leaving the port of Mumbai as the INS Vindhyagiri and 14 other naval ships came in. The two ships, the MV Nordlake and the INS Vindhyagiri, ran into each other. After that, the naval ship went into port. The next day, it went down.
The German company that owned MV Nordlake said that three ships were coming up behind it at the time, and that INS Vindhyagiri and another ship in the convoy did not move to their left as planned.
The owner said in HC that the crash was caused by confusion.
The Central government sued over the seizure of the MV Nordlake and asked for Rs 1,397 crore in damages. In 2014, the owner of the boat filed a suit in HC to limit its liability.