Kochi: An Indian flagged cargo vessel, 'M V BMC Genisis' now berthed at Port Teema in Ghana, was Tuesday ordered to be arrested by Kerala High Court to recover about Rs 60 lakh it owes to a company engaged in ship management.
The order was issued by Justice Harul Ul Rasheed, on a petition filed by Kerala-based Tradex Shipping Pvt. Ltd, engaged for ship management, seeking the arrest of the vessel to recover the amount.
It was stated that this is the first time a high court in the country has exercised its inherent Admiralty Jurisdiction to arrest a vessel, which is outside territorial waters of India.
According to the petitioner company, the vessel owes an outstanding of Rs 60 lakh to it. Justice Harul Ul Rasheed directed the Director of Ports, Port of Teema, Ghana, West Africa to arrest and detain the vessel under safe custody till the owners and parties of the ship furnish a security for an amount of Rs 60,02,132 before the High Court Registrar. The petitioner alleged that to escape from paying the liabilities, the owners had taken the vessel to Ghana for Dry Dock and Break Bulking.
The court held that since the vessel involved is carrying an Indian Flag and registered in India, it had absolute jurisdiction to entertain the suit and the plaintiff has prima facie established a case against the defendants.
The warrant of arrest obtained from the Kerala High Court will be executed through the High Court of Teema in Ghana under the provisions of enforcement of foreign judgments in Ghana.