Indian sailors stranded near Dubai over payment row, families write to Sushma
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Indian sailors stranded near Dubai over payment row, families write to Sushma

The crisis arose after the Dubai coast guard personnel seized the ship over non-payment of dues dating back to 2014.

india Updated: Sep 19, 2017 11:55 IST
Saubhadra Chatterji and Jayanth Jacob
Saubhadra Chatterji and Jayanth Jacob
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Indian sailors,Stranded sailors,Sushma Swaraj
The sailors of ‘Maharshi Vamadeva’ hold a protest on the deck of the ship.(Facebook)

Twenty-five Indian sailors and their family members have sought the government’s help to free a merchant ship detained for more than three months off the Dubai coast over a payment dispute.

The sailors of ‘Maharshi Vamadeva’ have also written to the external affairs ministry for helping free the ship anchored off the coast of Fujairah, one of the seven provinces of the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

MEA officials were not available for comments.

Manjushri, wife of one of the seamen, said the sailors were running short of food and water as they were not been allowed to go onshore for buying essentials.

“They are in a horrible condition. They have limited amount of food and oil but no one is ready to listen to them,” she said.

Family members of some of the sailors have also unsuccessfully tried to contact the owner of the ship, Yudhishthir Khatau, who runs the Varun Shipping Corporation. The company is said to have run into trouble earlier with authorities in UAE for non-payment of dues.

Sources said the present crisis arose after the Dubai coast guard personnel seized the ship over non-payment of dues dating back to 2014. The payment was for dry docking, which allows periodical maintenance of ships.

The sailors recently held a protest on the deck of the ship, hiding their faces behind banners. The photo was widely shared in Facebook by their relatives and friends to attract attention of Indian authorities.

“I took my son for a vacation in the ship from Mangalore to Gujarat before it left for Dubai. We had such a nice time. But after they reached UAE, things took a different turn,” Majushri told HT.

In the letter to external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj, Manjushri said, “My husband’s ship had been on the same position at anchorage point at Fujairah since June 17th. Now

they are in a very deplorable condition as there is shortage of food, water, fuel and other necessary things.

“All the crew on board had not even received their last three monthly wages.Their satellite connection had also been cut off due to non-payment of bills by the company. The owners have stopped communicating with the people on board and there are no signs of help from them,” she added.

Sumantra Nath Bhaduri, another sailor, informed his family that they are facing severe water and food shortage. In the soaring heat of the Gulf region, they are using AC condensate – water which runs off air conditioners -- to take baths.

First Published: Sep 19, 2017 11:51 IST