China’s Fujian Shipping says it has managed to reach a settlement with an Indian harbour pilot who was severely injured when a dockside gangway leading to one of its bulkers overturned.

However, the company denies claims that the collapse of the gangway in Deendayal Port India was a result of negligence on the part of its vessel of the pilot who was subsequently arrested.

The dispute led to one of its bulk carriers spending 24 days under arrest off the port of Deendayal.

Captain Shishir Nishikant Patange, a pilot working for the Deendayal Port Authority, secured an arrest warrant against Fujian Shipping’s 44,700-dwt bulker Jin Hai Hua (built 2012) in early March claiming the gangway he was using to board the ship overturned and collapsed, resulted in him falling off it and onto the wharf.

Patange told the High Court of Gujarat at Ahmedabad that the injuries he suffered were so severe that his career as a pilot was over, leading to a permanent loss of income.

The 42-year-old sued the ship and its owners for INR 68m ($822,000) for pain, suffering and the loss of income he would expect to have earned until retiring at age 65. He also asked for legal costs and interest.

The Jin Hai Hua spent 24 days under arrest until finally being released on 28 March.

A Fujian Shipping representative told TradeWinds that its protection and indemnity club managed to negotiate a settlement with Patange.

However, the representative stressed the gangway incident was not a result of any negligence on the part of the ship or its crew.

She said the gangway leading to the Jin Hai Hua did not belong to the ship. It was provided by a shoreside service company and its use was compulsory in line with port authority regulations.

The representative said investigations conducted by the company and its P&I provider found that a member of the ship’s crew stationed at the gangway had noted that it was unstable when Patange stepped onto it.

The crew member, she said, shouted at the pilot to stop, telling him that they needed a shore crane to correct it. However, Patange continued to mount the gangway which overturned after he took a few more steps.

Fujian’s representative said that after the arrest of the vessel, the P&I club made attempts to lodge security for the claim against the ship, but the plaintiff rejected the offer, demanding a cash settlement instead.

Fujian Shipping has cover for the Jin Hai Hua under the China Shipowners Mutual Assurance Association, which in turn has reinsured it under the UK P&I Club.