After the Kerala high court allowed the seizure of a Russian ship for non-payment of dues to an Estonian firm, the embassy of Russia asked the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) for an explanation and called for the rights of the crew to be respected.
On Monday,18 July, the Kerala high court ordered the “arrest” of the Russian ship MV MAIA-1 for non-payment of fuel charges amounting to $23,503 to an Estonian company.
A day later, the Russian embassy confirmed the detention of the ship. The diplomatic mission also added that the Russian vessel had arrived with military cargo for the Indian armed forces.
“The Embassy has sent to the Ministry of External Affairs of India an official request for explanation of the circumstances of the incident,” noted the statement. The embassy also called on the MEA “to ensure unconditional observance of the rights of the Russian shipowners and crew”.
The Russian consulate general based in Chennai has been directly “in control of this situation”, the Russian embassy added.
Justice Sathish Ninan of the Kerala HC noted in his order that the claim is the value of bunkers supplied by the Estonian firm, Bunker Partner OU, to the Russian ship “On going through the averments in the plaint and also the affidavit filed in support of the application, I am satisfied that a prima facie case warranting an ex parte order of arrest has been made out. Accordingly, a conditional order of arrest is issued,” said the order.
The judge called on the deputy conservator of ports at the Cochin Port Trust to implement the “arrest, seizure, and detention of the vessel.”