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Over a month after six crew members of a large oil tanker beached off the Chennai coast when Cyclone Nilam slammed into the east coast, the Bombay High Court has granted interim bail to a technician of the tanker against whom a case of negligence was registered.

A case of negligence was registered by the Shastri Nagar police station in Chennai against several people, including the captain of the tanker MT Pratibha Cauvery.

Ved Prakash Sharma, a technician of the tanker, approached the high court seeking anticipatory bail.

Justice A M Thipsay while granting him interim bail on surety of Rs 25,000 directed Sharma to surrender or approach an appropriate court in Chennai before January 14, 2013 to seek regular bail.

On November 1 this year, the oil tanker ship with 37 crew on board ran aground near Elliott’s Beach in South Chennai, about 200 metres away from the shore.

The captain of the tanker ship ordered his crew to abandon the ship after the vessel lost anchor and was in an imminent danger of sinking.

Around 25 members attempted to leave the stricken ship and head for shore in a life boat. However, due to choppy waters, the life boat capsized.

While 19 members were saved by local fishermen, six members drowned and died. The incident occurred just hours after cyclone Nilam hit the east coast.

The ship belonged to Mumbai-based Pratibha Shipping Company.

Senior counsel Shirish Gupte, appearing for Sharma, had argued that Sharma was only a technician of the ship.

The bail pleas of other accused in the case are pending before a court in Chennai, Gupte added.

 

PTI


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