The Madras High Court today dismissed a petition that sought a direction to quash the no- objection certificate issued by the director general of shipping for sailing of the 'MT BW Maple', one of the two ships which collided off the Ennore coast in January. The First Bench comprising Chief Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice M Sundar said, "We do not want to interfere in the no-objection certificate issued by the Director General of Shipping (DGS) for sailing of the vessel," disposing of a writ plea filed by Raja, President, National Union of Fishermen. Raja sought a direction to quash the no-objection certificate issued by the DGS, Mumbai, on September 14. He submitted that when cases were pending against the vessel in the southern bench of the National Green Tribunal for compensation for the environmental pollution created by the accident and criminal investigation was going on, the DGS has granted no-objection certificate for departure of the ship from Ennore port. However, the judges said, "There is not even a whisper in the petition how the further detention of the vessel would be of any use." The accident occurred on January 28 when M T BW Maple with a flag of Isle of Man was leaving the port after emptying Liquefied Petroleum Gas and M T Dawn loaded with petroleum oil lubricant was on its way to the berth at the Ennore port. There was no casualty or injury to anyone in the incident. Terming DGS's no objection certificate issued to the ship for leaving the port as "whimsical", the fishermen union moved the court to impound the vessel in Ennore port till all the claims and compensation of fishermen were settled. Denying it the counsel for the shipping company contended that the owners of the vessel through their insurers had already arranged for executing a bank guarantee for Rs 203 crores in favour of DGS, based on which the department has come to the conclusion that the continued detention of the vessel was not necessary. "The bank guarantee furnished by the owners of ship for Rs 203 crore covers the claims of the petitioner. The owners of the other ship have also furnished bank guarantee of equal amount.
Both the vessels are covered by insurance," the bench said. "We do not want to interfere with the question of compensation as the matter is already seized by the National Green Tribunal. We are not inclined to give any direction with regard to releasing of the ship in the present petition," the bench said disposing of the petition.