Video: 11 sailors stranded on ship for 45 days in UAE plead for help

Crew members said the vessel was in 'severe disrepair and with limited power for 12 consecutive days'


SM Ayaz Zakir

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Published: Tue 21 May 2024, 5:44 PM

Last updated: Wed 22 May 2024, 8:04 PM

A total of 11 crew members, including eight Indians, two Indonesians, and one Syrian, are stranded aboard a vessel anchored in Khor Fakkan.

Speaking to Khaleej Times, the crew said that they are facing severe shortages of essentials, with minimal food supplies, intermittent electricity, and barely any fuel.

On April 5, the sailors embarked on the vessel, Med Sea Fox, which has been anchored in Khor Fakkan Anchorage.

“Upon our arrival, we discovered the ship in a state of severe disrepair and unable to start sailing,” said Captain Nikhil Bangar.

Watch a video of the crew members on the ship here:

“Seeing a good deal, the owner aimed to get the ship ready for sailing. That's when he hired us to get the ship running. However, in the past 45 days, we haven't been able to accomplish anything because everything on the ship is in disrepair,” said Bangar.

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The crew has been stranded on the vessel for nearly two months, attempting to repair engines, generators, and other equipment.

Photo: Vessel Finder
Photo: Vessel Finder

“The condition of all the electricals and electronics is beyond repair. We have been informing the agents and the owners about it, however, they do not help,” said the captain, adding that numerous pleas for assistance have been largely ignored.

“The vessel was in scrap condition with no valid Life-Saving Appliance (LSA), Forward Freight Agreement (FFA), and no Protection and Indemnity cover,” said a crew member stranded on the vessel.

“The vessel is in a very bad shape and has had only limited power for twelve consecutive days,” said a crew member.

Photo: Screengrab/Supplied video
Photo: Screengrab/Supplied video

“There are three generators on board, and two are out of order. The only operational generator has too many leakages and can run only for two hours to charge our mobile phones,” said a crew member, adding that the vessel lacks emergency equipment.

Waste management on board is another critical issue.

“All the tanks, like the dirty oil tank, bilge holding tank, and sludge tank, are full, and nothing has been done for the disposal of the same by the previous crew,” said Bangar. According to the crew, they had to burn the garbage that had accumulated for six months.

“There is much more to be discarded but without disposal means,” the captain added.

Bangar said that there is “no valid medical chest on board in case of any emergency.” The crew has resorted to boiling tank water for drinking, which is "unhygienic.”

According to a crew member, a mode of communication has not been provided on board. They have to use their personal phones with costly international roaming packs.

“There is no dedicated office number or department for addressing our needs. We have been in touch with the agents who hired us to repair the ship, but they are not helping us,” the captain added.

“The emergency batteries for the navigational equipment are all drained and provide no power at all,” the crew said, adding that it makes it impossible to use the Very High Frequency (VHF) radios or switch on the Automatic Identification System.

“The Sat-C unit is inactive and cannot log into any ocean region,” said the crew.

The crew added that some provisions and essentials like food and water were delivered after the intervention of the port authorities, “but more than half were damaged or spoilt due to the lack of power on the vessel, and most of the machinery on board is out of order, needing urgent repairs or servicing from shore technicians,” said the captain.

Photo: Screengrab/Supplied video
Photo: Screengrab/Supplied video

The financial situation of the sailors is equally grim. “Our salaries have not been cleared until now. When we approached the owners, they stated that salaries would be paid to the agent instead, and no further details were provided,” said the crew members.

Desperate calls for help

The crew has been forced to cook food using wood fire, a situation shared with port control, said a crew member.

“Despite numerous reminders regarding a medical urgency at home, no action has been taken for my repatriation, even though I am ready to pay for it myself,” the captain said.

“We request urgent intervention in the matter and require urgent repatriation from the vessel as it is non-seaworthy. Kindly help us in getting down from the vessel and help in clearing our wages,” said the crew members.

‘They are employees, they have to work’

Khaleej Times reached out to the owner, who is based in the UK, for comment. He acknowledged that he purchased the vessel and anchored it in Khor Fakkan.

However, he refused to comment on the dilapidated state of the vessel. “The vessel is being repaired,” said Shadi Aldris, who recently acquired Med Sea Fox.

“We have been in touch with the crew members who are working on repairing the ship. They are employees of my company, and they have to work,” said the owner.


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