Why had the Kerala High Court ordered the seize of a Russian ship at Kochi port?

A Russian merchant ship that docked at Kochi port was detained at the orders of the Kerala High court.

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On Monday, 18th of July, 2022 a Russian vessel named MV-MAIA-I was seized at the Kochi port on the orders of the Kerala High Court over an alleged non-payment of fuel charges worth 1.87 crore rupees to Bunker Partner OU, an Estonian company.

According to websites that track merchant vessels, the Russian ship set its voyage from the port city of Novorossiysk in Russian on 25th June and arrived in India this week. The ship was later heading towards the ports of Turkey and then to Egypt.

The Russian had sent an official request to the Ministry of External Affairs seeking an explanation of the action.

“We have also asked the ministry to ensure unconditional observance of the rights of the Russian shipowners and crew”. The embassy said.

In a statement, the embassy said it was aware of the Russian cargo ship’s detention in Kochi “on board of which a military cargo for the Indian Armed Forces was delivered”.

The Russians stated. “After going through the plaint, and the affidavit attached with it. The court is satisfied with prima facie case, warranting an ex parte order of arrest”. The court ruled, adding that the ship can be detained until dues are cleared

The Russian embassy has also mentioned that the Court had permitted the unloading of the Court onboard. Since it had nothing to do with it. And the Consulate General in Chennai is in direct control of this situation.

The Russian mission has sent a request to the Ministry Of External Affairs regarding an explanation of events. And an appeal to observe the rights of the crew onboard.

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