PETALING JAYA: The detained container vessel Banga Biraj is being put up for sale in a move that could finally see its crew going home.
Insurance company Takaful Ikhlas Sdn Bhd, one of the plaintiffs in the lengthy legal battle over the ship, has filed for an application to sell the vessel.
This was after the Shah Alam High Court granted an Omnibus Order to the Sheriff to take charge of the maintenance and welfare of the crew and vessel.
Lawyer Oon Thian Seng, who is representing the insurance company, said the application will be heard on June 16.
However, there was concern that the sale of the poorly-maintained vessel would not be enough to cover the RM5.5mil paid by the insurance company to Northport over damages incurred by Banga Biraj when it crashed into two quay cranes on Oct 22, 2008.
Oon said the plaintiff was willing to forward the expenses for the repatriation of the crew to the Sheriff but would need the interim protection order cancelled as soon as possible.
He said the court ordered that the ship be brought from deep waters to the port to prevent collision with other vessels.
An officer from the Labour Department, who was present at court, said it will be working to speed up the process of cancelling the 15 crew members’ protection orders.
She, however, refused to comment further.
The Banga Biraj was detained by the Shah Alam High Court after crashing into the quay cranes, causing losses estimated at RM7mil.
It sailed off after the accident and was detained on May 4 last year when it returned with a different set of crewmen.
The 13 Bangladeshis and two Indonesians who abandoned the ship last week are currently staying in a human-trafficking victims’ safe house in Tanjung Keling, Malacca.
Suhakam commissioner James Nayagam, who was present in chambers, described the decision as a “relief to all”.
“I am happy that the crew may finally be able to go home after being stuck here for more than a year,” he said.