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Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Latest status on motor tug JUPITER-6 at Supreme Court of India/Delhi

Kind courtesy Manoj Joy of Sailor's Helpline. . .

Dear ______

Latest development in the missing Jupiter-6 Case.

On April 29, 2011 the case of Jupiter-6 came up before Supreme Court of India. The legal team from Sailors Helpline was present in the court to assist the family members.  

As soon as the case was taken for hearing Honorable Justice Raveendran, made an observation regarding the plight of Indian seafarers in Somalia.

Justice Raveendran said, " This morning I read in the newspaper that more than 57 Indian seafarers are still under captive in Somalia. What is the government doing about the welfare of Indian seafarers".   

The government replied that they are in touch with various other countries to solve the crisis and they would file their reply before the next hearing.

From our side we have submitted detailed documents to the court with regard to various issues faced by the Indian seafarers. We have prayed for criminal action against the fly by night operating and shady recruiting firms.

During the hearing the court also directed the company to pay interim compensation to the Ukrainian nationals who were on board Jupiter-6, without any pre-condtions (i.e full and final settlement). In 2009 the court directed the Jupiter-6 owners to pay an interim compensation of USD 40,000 for officers and USD 25,000 for non-officers. The total compensation payable to the families will be determined by the court later.

The above amount was not paid to the families by the owners under some or the other pretext. Finally the court directed the owners to deposit the compensation amount in the Supreme Court. The family members will receive the amount from the court in a few days time.  The Jupiter-6, chief engineer,  son's both the kidney has got damaged and to transplant the kidney they are in urgent need to money.  We brought this matter to the notice of the court and the Honorable Judges have passed orders to pay them the compensation expeditiously.

During the previous hearing on March 28, 2011 the court directed the government to file  the status report with reference to the condition prevailing as on  date, particularly, to verify whether the amendments to SOLAS, RPS Rules and MLC Convention 2006 etc. have come into force and the effect thereof.

In this regard we too have compiled all the relevant materials pertaining to amendments to SOLAS, RPS Rules and MLC Convention 2006. We requested the court to grant us permission file these documents. The court in its order has permitted us to file the same. 

Warm regards
Sailors Helpline

Following is the Supreme Court order dated April 29, 2011.
SABEEHA FAIKAGE AND ORS.                                       Petitioner(s)


UNION OF INDIA & ORS.                                          Respondent(s)

(With appln(s) for impleadment)
(For final disposal)

Date: 29/04/2011    This Petition was called on for hearing today.


           UPON hearing counsel the Court made the following
                               O R D E R

                 Mr. H.P.Rawal,learned ASG submitted that he has received some of the information in regard to the current position regarding amendments to SOLAS, RPS Rules and MLC Convention 2006 etc. and also certain other information and hence seeks time to place them on record in the form of an affidavit.

             Mr. Rajiv Dutta, learned senior counsel stated that in so far as two Ukrainian sailors, their families have refused to accept the payment.Their refusal appears to be for the reason that payment was offered in full and final satisfaction. It is made clear that the payment may be offered ex-gratia and without a condition that it is in full and final satisfaction. If such an offer is made, we are sure that they will also receive the amount and have the benefit of the same.

             Learned counsel for the petitioner stated that one of the petitioner is in dire need of the amount and the Registrar (Judl.)may be requested to dispose of his claim expeditiously. If the concerned applicant
presents the application in the required form, we are sure that the Registrar Judl.) will dispose of the same expeditiously, preferably within one month.

             Petitioners are also directed to file documents with reference to SOLAS, RPS Rules and MLC Convention 2006 etc.

             List in the third week of July, 2011.


Additional non judiciary observations:-

# DGS apparently said that RPS and MSA have no penal provisions?
# DGS apparently said that they are terribly under-staffed.
# DGS apparently spotted having lunch with the owners.

The authorities have been looking at DGS with the same magnifying glass that they used for DGCA, and biggest question being asked is - how come DGS happily signs on documents pertaining to ship-owners whose addresses are in tax havens, when beneficiary owners are in other countries - are DGS conspiring against Indian Government in tax evasion issues now?

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