Impounded Russian vessel released after payment of bond

Mumbai: A Russian cargo vessel, which had been detained by the Indian Coast Guard in the wake of a directive from the Madras High Court, was today released after a bond was paid to settle a commercial dispute between the vessel’s owners and their Indian agents.

The Sevastopol, owned by the Vladivostok-based Gudzon Shipping Co, had been impounded by the Coast Guard in mid-February after it attempted to flee from Indian waters on hearing of the court’s verdict.

It had been arrested after an 11-hour chase, and forced to return to neutral waters, about 14 nautical miles off Mumbai. It has since been anchored at Mumbai port’s unloading dock.

The vessel was officially released after its owners paid a $200,000 bond, which induced the Indian company to withdraw its claim. However, it may continue to have difficulty departing from Mumbai as the owners have not paid the crew’s salary, amounting to 3m roubles ($50,000), for two months.

On Thursday, an inspector from the International Transport Workers’ Federation was scheduled to visit the ship in order to settle the salaries’ issue with the crew. According to the Maritime Labour Convention, the non-payment of salaries is a serious violation, and grounds for detaining the vessel.

Shirish Nadkarni

Shirish Nadkarni is a management consultant and freelance international journalist, who has been writing on all spheres of Indian business for the past three decades for a number of reputed overseas publications. An avid sportsman, Nadkarni has represented India in international veterans' badminton since 1997, and was the 55+ age group doubles world champion in 2005.
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