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Ship with 25 Indians goes missing

A cargo ship with 25 Indian workers on board is missing for the last five days in the Black Sea, reports Shahkar Abidi.

india Updated: Feb 24, 2008 00:23 IST
Shahkar Abidi

A cargo ship with 25 Indian workers on board is missing for the last five days in the Black Sea. Contact was last made with MV Rezzak – on its way to Bartin in Turkey from Russia's Novorossiysk — on February 18.

The International Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre has found no trace of the vessel, but a life raft was seen drifting five nautical miles off the Turkey coast.

"There has been no communication or distress signal from the ship for five days which is very rare if it's still floating," said SC Biswas, director of Pelican Marine, the agency that recruited the Indians.

Biswas said all families have been informed. But Mumbai-based Uday Chauhan – whose brother Hriday was on board — is furious with Pelican Marine. "The firm did not bother to inform us. They denied the incident and admitted that the ship was missing only after I told them about media reports," said Chauhan. Hriday was working as a welder, and had complained that work conditions and safety measures on board were bad, Chauhan added.

The family of Pritam Singh, from Himachal Pradesh, who was also on the ship, is anxious. Harish Sharma, Singh's cousin and a retired naval officer, said: "I know the consequences when a ship is not traceable for five days. The family is very tense."

With inputs from Presley Thomas, Agencies