Family members of Russel Terrence Rebello have been waiting for the past three days to hear from him. The 33-year-old is an employee of the Italian cruise liner Costa Concordia that capsized off the Tuscan coast in Italy on Friday. He has been missing since then.
At their Naigaon residence in Thane, the Rebello family is hoping that it will soon get some good news from the Indian Embassy.
Michael D’Costa, a neighbour, told HT, “We have received very little information about Russel. All we know is that he has not been found as yet. His family is worried and are hoping that the embassy can give them some good news.”
D’Costa said Russel, who lives with his wife, three-year-old son and parents, left for the cruise in October.
Meanwhile, the Indian embassy has been directed to assist the rescue operations and to make sure that the Indian tourists are brought back safely.
Satish Agnihotri, director general of shipping, said they had sent a formal letter to the Indian embassy to expedite the procedure. “The investigations are being carried out by the flag ship country and other countries, who have their nationals stranded there. Currently, we are not one of them as not many Indians are stranded there,” said Agnihotri.
However, Vinod Tawde, Opposition leader in the state legislative council, claimed that a tourist from Maharashtra, Mayur Kadam, had told him that 15 tourists from the state had bad experience with the local Indian embassy officials. “The embassy officials asked them to produce documents of proof that they were Indian citizens. But the tourists had to leave everything in the cruise liner,” said Tawde.
It was only after chairman of parliamentary standing committee on foreign affairs Anant Kumar spoke to union minister for external affairs SM Krishna that the embassy officials got into action. “The minister ordered Indian ambassador in Italy Debabrat Saha to help the Indian tourists without getting into any formalities.
He also appointed an official, Vishesh Negi, to ensure that the tourists were put up in hotels and arrangements were made to fly them back to India,” said Tawde.