Matter has been posted for further hearing on November 9

The Madras High Court on Wednesday said that oil tanker, MT Pratibha Cauvery, which ran aground off the city coast near Elliots Beach on October 31, should not be moved from the territorial jurisdiction of the court, pending further orders.

If the tanker is to be moved, its owner should deposit Rs. 6 crore in the court. This is because six persons have already died, while attempting to escape the stranded ship.

Justice N. Paul Vasanthakumar was passing further interim orders on a petition seeking a direction to the Central and State governments to conduct a proper enquiry and take appropriate action against Pratibha Shipping Company, Mumbai, the tanker owner.

The petitioner, Sankara Narayanan of Nesil village, Vanoor taluk in Villupuram district, said his elder brother, Anand Mohandoss, (32), had been working as the second engineer in the tanker.

After being informed that cyclone Nilam was to cross Chennai, Mohandoss and other employees tried their best to save themselves using life boats. But because of insufficient fuel, they failed in their attempt.

The ship was not in good condition. It did not have fuel or water . Food was given only once a day. The petitioner alleged that Mohandoss “died of starvation very soon after falling from the life boat.” This showed the company’s negligence.

On November 2, Mr. Justice Paul Vasanthakumar had granted an interim injunction restraining the ship from moving from Chennai port, pending further orders.

When the matter came up on Monday, petitioner’s counsel, S. Prabakaran, argued that the ship’s several communications to the port had been in vain. The death of Mr. Mohandoss was due to starvation. There was a need for an enquiry by a District Judge and a payment of Rs. 25 lakh as compensation to the petitioner’s family.

Additional Solicitor-General G. Masilamani sought time to file a counter affidavit.

The matter has been posted for further hearing on November 9.