5 months on 14 Indian sailors in 'pathetic situation' off UAE's coast
Fujairah - For the past five months the sailors have been are struggling to sign off from four vessels anchored around 59km away from Khor Fakkan.
A week after Khaleej Times reported about 14 Indian sailors being stranded off Khor Fakkan, Fujairah, the men received their three months salary, and food and fresh drinking water to ease their plight. The men have, however, not been able to sign off from their vessles and head back home. Their two months salary is pending and they are back to square one as far as food and water are concerned.
For the past five months the sailors have been are struggling to sign off from the four vessels (MT beta, MT Cityelite, MT Al Nouf and MT Laowadale) anchored 32 Nautical Miles (around 59km) away from Khor Fakkan. Their condition is getting worst by the day without food and drinking water. Some of them are suffering from severe infections as they have no choice but use the water with a stink. However, after Khaleej Times raised the issue on October 7, some food and water was supplied to them but it was not enough to sustain them. They have run out of stock and is suffering.
Chandeshwar Prasad Singh, second rank officer and in-charge of MT beta thanked Khaleej Times for highlighting their concerns. He said: "After the news appeared in the paper, we were paid salary for three months, two months' salary is pending. Our problems are not yet resolved, we are using foul water for cooking and drinking, it is neither sufficient nor clean. Most of us are affected, and I have severe stomach pain."
Pleading for sign off from the ship, he added: "I learnt that this company treated its workers badly in the past, as well. Before us there was this Pakistani crew and they also suffered like us. I am sending a mail to the Indian Embassy, the Labour Ministry in the UAE and DG shipping, about this case."
Meanwhile, the owner of the vessels - Venus shipping and Recruitment Company in India - has been quiet about the issue and has not responded to phone calls and e-mails from the newspaper.
Another, crew member, Bintoo Fougat cannot eat or drink anything because of a tongue infection. "We are in a pathetic situation and our family is suffering because of us. We all want to go back to India as soon as possible. I can't express how much pain I experience when I brush my teeth in the morning, my tongue bleeds. Apart from this my whole body itches badly. We do not have medicines here and I need proper medication now."
Reverend Nelson Fernandez of the Mission to Seafarers, an organisation that helps seafarers resolve employment disputes, said: "Apart from meeting the agent in Mumbai and pushing him to take action, we don't have an option. And we are already doing that. As far as this ship owner is concerned, they have been involved in similar cases before."