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* India deports abandoned Sri Lankan sailors of disabled tug
Thu, Apr 15, 2010, 11:38 am SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Apr 15, Colombo: An Indian court in Kochi ordered to deport five Sri Lankan sailors who were stranded in Kochi for 19 months after the owner of their disabled tug abandoned it in the mid-sea.

An Indian media report said the Kochi Judicial First Class Magistrate Court, which issued the order to deport the sailors also ordered to pay them US $ 112,277 (12.8 million rupees) as compensation.

According to the report the owner abandoned the Panama flagged tug MT Malakas after both engines of the vessel were damaged on August 10, 2008. Following engine failure, the vessel was towed to Cochin and the towage company brought legal proceedings.

Four of the original nine crew members, including the Master and Chief Engineer were repatriated in September 2008.

However, the remaining five sailors -A W Loku Hewa, U Padmananda, L D Dhanapala, L M Prabhatha and Y G A S Rangasinha remained in Kochi pending legal proceedings.

The authorities called tenders to auction the tug last October. Compensation was paid to the five Sri Lankan sailors from the auction.

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