NEWDELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday declined to stay the release of a Cypriot commercial ship, which had collided with an Indian warship near Mumbai port on January 31, 2011, causing extensive damage to the latter and a loss of `1,058 crore.
However, a Bench comprising Justice H L Dattu and Justice C K Prasad said that it was not passing any interim order now as the Bench wants to keep open the question of law on the issue.
“We wonder how vigilant you were that your naval ship was hit by a merchant ship,” Justice Dattu remarked when Additional Solicitor General Indira Jaising pleaded with the Bench to stay the order of the Bombay High Court directing that the ship be released.
The Bench remained unconvinced when Jaising repeatedly said that the loss to the government would be enormous as the naval ship concerned was one of its kind in the country.
“So we have lost even that one ship,” the judge retorted refusing to interfere with the Bombay High Court order.
“What are you going to achieve by prolonging the detention of the merchant ship?” the Bench asked.
She said: “If the owner of the ship doesn’t indemnify the loss, then the government would auction the ship and recover the loss.” But the Bench was not convinced.