A day after Express brought out the pathetic state of the 23-member ship crew - including 21 Indians - of MT A Whale, a Liberian flagged vessel stranded at the Egyptian port of Suez, the Indian authorities swung into action.
The Consular Office with the Indian Embassy in Cairo contacted the crew on Friday seeking more details about the issue.
“The Embassy officials asked us to provide more details about the issue and our current situation so that they can check it with Singapore Government and the company,” Khan Jubair of Bangladesh, Captain of ‘A Whale’ told ‘Express’ over phone from Cairo.
“Both the Sailors Society and consular officials with the Indian Embassy contacted us today (Friday). The Embassy said they were not aware of the issue till now, and asked us to give all details,” said Anurag Mishra of Allahabad, who is the Second Officer of ‘A Whale’.
It was Assistant Consular Officer Vinay Shankar of the Embassy who sought details from the ship crew, said the officials.
Meanwhile, the Sailors Helpline Chennai once again took up the issue with Indian shipping officials including the Directorate General of Shipping. The Helpline sought action against the manning agents for violation of the Recruitment and Placement of Seafarers (RPS) Rules laid by the Union Government.
“As per the RPS Rules, the ship management company and recruitment agents are responsible for the safety of the ship and the crew. They cannot shy away from their responsibilities. The Government of India can take severe action against the management company for the violation of RPS Rules,” Said Manoj Joy of Sailors Helpline, Chennai.
“Though the issue was brought to the attention of DG Comm, no action was taken so far. The very purpose of having a DG Comm Helpline is defeated due to this attitude,” Manoj added. The ship has 23 crew members including 21 Indians and one each from Bangladesh and Pakistan.
Even after repeated requests by the crew to Nos Ship Management of Singapore, the company which manages the vessel, the ship management has not paid their wages for the last six months. In an earlier communication, the crew pointed out that with no food and shelter they are in pathetic state. Adding to the woes, the ship management reportedly disconnected the satellite communication system in the vessel. Tired by the sufferings, seven crew members including the Captain, decided to abandon the vessel and leave for their countries.