A day after the Korean Appeal Court sentenced two Indian sailors for spillage of oil from their ship Hebei Spirit in December 2007, 46 senior Indian seafarers have come together and decided to avoid setting sail to South Korea and to wear black bands if at all they have to go there.
“Delhi and NCR seafarers will launch a protest in front of the South Korean embassy and not purchase goods made in Korea,” Captain Sanjiv Verma of Ocean XV told Hindustan Times.
Meanwhile, the wife of chief officer Chetan Syam — sentenced for 8 months — has informed the Indian seafarers’ community that her husband and Captain Jaspreet Chawla — sentenced for 18 months — are being denied basic amenities in prison.
“It is a confined, filthy place with a small opening on the floor to serve as a toilet. Very little heating is there, with sub-zero temperature outside. They are being held in complete isolation,” says her mail.
The oil spill had taken place on December 7, 2007, when a Samsung crane barge had collided with the Hebei Spirit, anchored at Taean in South Korea. The captain and the chief officer of the vessel were in virtual house arrest there for a year, before being sentenced on Wednesday.
“As sailors we are outraged,” says captain Prabhat Goel, recently held captive by Somali pirates in the Stolt Valor case, said.