The Bombay High Court has ordered the auctioning of six LPG carries owned by Varun Resources.
The verdict was passed on the grounds of a lawsuit launched by Darya Shipping, which was entrusted with the management of the six ships by the Insolvency Resolution Professional (IRP) and the Committee of Creditors (CoC), after Varun filed for insolvency, the Indian Express reported.
The insolvency option is being pursued after the restructuring plan of the company, engulfed in debts exceeding RS 2,000 crore (USD 307 million), was dismissed in March.
The court has determined that IRP and CoC failed to provide Darya Shipping with financial means for the maintenance of ships, along with the basic provisions for dozens of seafarers manning the LPG carriers and their salaries since December 2017.
Hence, Darya Shipping had to use its own money to secure the ships had enough fuel to run their generators and avoid blackouts. Nevertheless, as these were not sufficient, several ships lost power, further aggravating the status of the affected seafarers.
In addition, the health condition of the crew has been brought to question, with several mariners said to be suffering from scabies and chicken pox, the daily reported.
Due to improper maintenance, the LPG carriers were dubbed “time bombs” as they posed a danger of exploding, risking the lives of the seafarers as well as the marine environment. Furthermore, the ships were characterized as a danger to navigation as they did not have proper signalization.
The six ships have already been arrested in Indian waters and their names are: Maharshi Devatreya, Maharshi Krishna Treya, Maharshi Bhavatreya, Maharshi Bhardwaj, Maharshi Shubhatreya and Maharshi Mahatreya.
The court ordered CoC to pay a deposit of Rs 12 crore (approximately USD 18.4 million) to Darya Shipping until the ships are sold off to cover for its losses and other expenses.
The terms and conditions of the sale are to be determined by the independent appraisers, with the sale expected to be completed by April 20.
The company was blacklisted by the United Arab Emirates back in October 2017, with all of its ships banned from calling the UAE ports, after repeat cases of seafarer abandonment.