CHENNAI : The Madras High Court has awarded Rs 60 lakh compensation to the family of an Indian sailor, who had a fatal fall inside the container hold area from aboard a Panamanian ship berthed at the Chennai Port.
T S Frank Midson (33) of Kanyakumari district was the third officer of Gati Pride. While checking the cargo aboard the vessel, he accidentally fell into the empty cargo hold and died on March 24 last.
The High Court had earlier ordered the ship be arrested and not allowed to leave the port without clearing the wages due to its crew members. Lying in the outer anchorage of the port since November 2011, the vessel owners had cleared the dues in the first week of March and it was preparing to leave the port when Midson fell and died.
Midson’s wife Bino Sesley and her two minor children had moved the High Court seeking `1 crore as compensation. According to petitioner’s counsel S Vasudevan, Justice R Subbiah had first directed the ship owner to deposit `1 crore. However, the owner filed an appeal and a division bench comprising Justices P Jyothimani and R Karuppiah settled the issue for Rs 60 lakh. The judges said that the victim’s wife and her two children would get Rs 20 lakh each and that the money should be deposited in a nationalised bank, where the monthly interest accruals would be about Rs 15,000 each.
The matter again came to the single judge and was then referred to a Lok Adalat for a formal settlement, so that the victim’s families could get refund of the court fee paid by them. As the vessel owner had settled the wages due to the crew members and also paid the compensation, he was permitted by the court to sail away.