HC permits Enrica Lexie to leave Kerala shores

Italian vessel 'Enrica Lexie', detained off Kerala coast after two Indian fishermen were shot by its marines on February 15, was on Saturday permitted by the Kerala High Court to leave the state's shores after fulfilling the necessary formalities.

Pio Shiano, Managing Director of Dolphin Tankers Ltd, the ship's owner, executed the bond for Rupees three crore and submitted the demand draft for an equal amount to the High Court Registrar General B. Kamal Pasha this afternoon and got the release order of the vessel.

Kamal Pasha has sent a fax message to Deputy Conservator of Cochin Port to release the vessel as the ship's authorities have fulfilled the conditions laid down by the Supreme Court.

When Shiano, Farokh H. Commissariat, Managing Director of James Mackintosh Shipping Agency and Captain Viteli Umberto came to the Registrar General's office to execute the bond, they were informed that a DD for the same amount or a bank guarantee would also be needed. The Italian Consul General was also present.

As per Admirality suit conditions, it is for the High Court to decide if DD is needed along with the bond.

They have also given an undertaking that they would produce the six crew members of the vessel before any court when summoned with regard to the shooting case.

The ship had been detained since February 15 at outer Kochi after its two marines - Latore Massmiliano and Salvatore Girone - allegedly shot and killed two Indian fishermen suspecting them to be pirates. The marines have been arrested and charged with murder and are now in judicial remand at Thiruvananthapuram central jail

On Friday the formalities with regard to the bond could not be completed as they had not received the certified copy of the May 2 supreme court order.

While allowing the vessel to leave along with its four marines and six crew members, the apex court had directed its owner to execute a surety of Rupees three crore before the Registrar General of the Kerala High Court.

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