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Detained Panama cargoship released by Mercantile Marine Dept. (MMD)

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(G.N.S) Dt. 09
Kochi
Cargo ship was involved in a collision with a fishing vessel.
The foreign cargo ship reported to be involved in a collision with a fishing vessel off Kochi in June last and detained at the Kochi port was released on Monday by the Mercantile Marine Department (MMD).
The Panama-flagged vessel, Amber L, had collided with the trawler, Carmel Matha, on June 11, about 14 nautical miles off the Kochi coast, said reports. Two persons were killed and one went missing in the accident.
The Department has allowed the ship to sail out of the port of Kochi, subject to clarification from the Kerala High Court that the order of release would not impede any lawful direction passed by any other authorities, including the police, in any investigation pending in respect of the accident.
The vessel had been detained following a High Court directive that came on a petition filed by surviving fishermen and the legal heirs of those killed in the collision seeking compensation. According to a release of the Mercantile Marine Department, the Kerala High Court had clarified that pendency of any action before court “ipso facto will not prevent the release of the ship, unless there are any prohibitory orders in force in such actions”.
The release added that the Assistant Solicitor General had given legal opinion to the Department that there was no order in force as on date of the High Court order (December 29) from prohibiting the release of the ship.
The MMD also pointed out that relevant documents and records of the ship had been taken into safe custody by the Department on a directive of the High Court and handed over to the investigating officer of the Kerala State Coastal Police.
The release also noted that the Preliminary Inquiry Officers (PIOs) appointed by the Director General of Shipping had confirmed the satisfactory completion of the inquiry under Section 359 of the Merchant Shipping Act,1958, into the collision in accordance with the Marine Casualty Investigation Code promulgated by the International Maritime Organization.

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