Crew of stranded ships breathes sigh of relief

DUBAI — Life is becoming better for the crew of two of the three stranded ships belonging to Korean company Samho Shipping. The banks managing the ruined company’s assets have paid the pending salaries and have arranged food, fuel and fresh water for those remaining on board the vessels off Rashid Port in Dubai.

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Published: Sun 26 Jun 2011, 11:12 PM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 7:41 AM

The ships’ saga of miseries started after the company ran into rough weather following pirate attacks involving enormous ransoms on two ships including supertanker Samho Dream, one of the vessels stranded in Dubai for months. The other two are crude oil tanker Samho Crown, anchored in Dubai waters since January 28, and chemical tanker Samho Jasper, the last vessel that sought haven here a few weeks ago.

Some 30 members of the crew on board Samho Crown and Samho Dream have already been repatriated, as reported earlier by Khaleej Times. With the departure of the 14 Filipino crew to their homeland last week, Samho Dream had been deserted as the remaining seven Korean crew including the captain were also taken off the board after the ship ran out of fuel and fresh water.

Having left abandoned at anchorage for a week, Samho Dream now has four of the Korean crew back on board as their salaries, along with those of others, have been credited to their accounts. Master of Samho Dream, Captain Son Huil said the four engineers agreed to go back to the ship after their families confirmed that their pending salaries for March and April were credited to their accounts.

“Now, only two cadets and I are here in the hotel. We are not going back to the ship. But, we haven’t yet heard anything from the agent on our flight to Korea,” Huil said from a Dubai hotel. According to him, four new Indian crew members have joined the Koreans aboard after the banks appointed a new manning agency to salvage the ship.

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for International Tanker Management Company in Dubai, that manages Samho Crown, also confirmed the payment of crew salaries for April and May. “The bank (of Samho Shipping) has promised to send the June salary by the month end,” he said.

The crew of Samho Crown said three officials from the Indian Consulate in Dubai, including the Consul for Labour MP Singh, had visited them on board three days ago. “They promised the Indian crew members that the Consulate would facilitate everything that is needed if they wanted to fly home,” said one of them.

The ship’s chief mate who corresponded with Samho Jasper through their internal communication system, said the crew aboard Jasper were yet to receive any intimation about their salaries.

“They said they have not got their salaries for five months. But, they have now received some bunkers of fuel and food,” he added.

Khaleej Times could not reach Samho Jasper as the ship’s satellite communication network has been cut off by her radio company due to non-payment of charges.

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