Two executives with Mumbai-based Prahitba Shipping have been arrested in connection to six seafarer deaths after the company’s tanker went aground last year during Tropical Cyclone Nilam.
As gCaptain reported previously, the MT Pratibha Cauvery broke free from an anchorage in Chennai, India and grounded along a beach just south of the city as Cyclone Nilam made landfall October 31. After distress signals went unanswered, the captain gave the order to abandon ship and 22 of the 37 crew members boarded a lifeboat in an effort to reach shore. Heavy surf caused the boat capsize, sending the men into the water, killing six.
Later it was revealed that the MT Pratibha Cauvery and its crew had spent the last three weeks in Chennai’s outer anchorage without fuel and powerless for at least two days prior. Even worse, the crew had reportedly been refused pay and provisions by the owners, Pratibha Shipping Company Limited.
Following the incident maritime experts called on authorities to investigate what happened and hold those responsible accountable for allowing a 31-year-old “dead vessel” to ply in Indian waters.
The two executives, brothers Madan Anand Rao Pawar, 55, and Suresh Anand Rao Pawar, 51, were apprehended Tuesday booked under section 304 (ii) of the Indian Penal Code, or culpable homicide not amounting to murder.
If guilty the men could face 10 years in jail and a fine.