Nordlake Duo Head Home

Two crew from a German containership involved in a collision that sank an Indian warship are to be allowed home.

The men from the 1,524–teu Nordlake (built 1994) will receive their passports following a decision by the Mumbai high court.

Abeywickrama Weerandanda, a Sri Lankan, and Sorour Mahmoud Mohammed El Agamy, an Egyptian national, were part of the 24-strong crew on the Klaus E Oldendorff ship when it came into contact with the INS Vindhyagiri in January.

The court also gave local police until Monday to submit an affidavit stating reasons for continuing to hold the master’s passport.

An Indian investigation blamed the warship for the accident.

The shipping ministry said the navy had organised a Day at Sea programme for the families of its personnel and a convoy of eight ships sailed off from Tiger Gate in the morning.

When they were returning in the evening, the convoy decided to sail starboard to starboard, instead of port to port.

This message was conveyed to Nordlake, which was coming out of JNPT harbour, but not to another ship, Eastern Mediterranean Maritime’s 23,500-gt boxship Seaeagle (built 2006), which was entering the port.

As a result, Nordlake, which was following the directions issued by naval officials, was suddenly confronted with Sea Eagle, which was coming on the port to port path.

To avert a collision, the captain and pilot of Nordlake swerved their ship and hit Vindhyagiri which instantly caught fire.

Eastern Mediterranean Maritime told TradeWinds that its vessel had permission from Indian authorities to overtake the convoy and said it was not to blame.


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