Victory Of Seafarers

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The efforts of seafarers, and Unions paid off on 15 Jan 2009, when Capt. Jasprit Cahwla and Chief Officer Shyam Chetan were granted bail by South Korean Supreme Court.
South Korea’s top court said on 15 Jan 2009 it has granted bail to the Indian captain and chief officer of a Hong Kong supertanker who were jailed last month over the country’s worst oil spill. Captain Jasprit Chawla and chief officer Syam Chetan were released yesterday pending the hearing of their appeal to the Supreme Court, court spokesman Kim Jin-Wan said.
An appeal court, reversing a lower court decision, had last month found the pair partly to blame for the spill. It jailed Chawla for 18 months in prison and Chetan for eight months.

The ruling sparked widespread anger in the international shipping community, which insisted the tanker crew were blameless. Indian seafarer unions have staged protests.  The accident happened when a barge carrying a construction crane broke free after a cable to one of two tugs snapped in rough seas in December 2007.
The barge owned by Samsung Heavy Industries rammed the anchored 147,000-ton supertanker Hebei Spirit. The ship was holed in three places and 10,900 tons of crude oil was spilt, coating miles of beaches.

The appeal court found that Samsung was mainly to blame for the accident and confirmed prison terms passed by a local court on the Korean tugboat skippers.  But it also maintained that the tanker crew chiefs failed to act promptly to minimize the spillage. No date has been set for the Supreme Court hearing. joined the procession called by NUSI at Azad Maidan with its many staff members covering and attending the event. started its campaign online by way of writing the articles and event coverage on the homepage. In response to above mentioned coverage, the users from all over the world responded quickly and criticized the South Korean Court orders and demanded a quick a decisive action by Indian Government and also suggested ways to pressurize the South Korean Government.
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