THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: With mystery shrouding the death of two Indian sailors on board a merchant vessel off Malaysia, the Sailors Helpline Chennai has demanded that the Union Shipping Ministry should initiate a detailed probe into the incident.
Indian sailors Vignesh Ramakrishnan of Madurai and Nikil Silvi of Kochi along with a Bangladeshi sailor died in the first week of February.
In a communication sent to the DG Shipping, the Sailors Helpline pointed out certain discrepancies in the various reports received by the family of Vignesh. In the police report on February 4, a person named Tie Hieng Guan has claimed that the three foreign labourers (two Indian and one Bangladeshi) belong to him. He has stated that the three went into the tank without his orders or instructions. “It is baffling to note that Tie claims that the deceased crew are his labourers. The deceased were the crew members of Carausia No 1 Kuching. We fail to understand the motive behind the statement of Tie Hieng Guan. What authority does he have? His role has to be investigated. Why is that the Master of the vessel has not recorded his statement?” the communication asked.
It was further pointed out that apart from the police report in Malay and English, there is one more police report dated February 17 in Malay, which was probably filed on the day of the post-mortem. The second report has signatures of four officials with name, designation and official stamp while the first report does not have any signature or official stamp.
“The Statement of Facts (SOF) by the Barge Master of Carausia No 1 Kuching is very crucial in determining the facts leading to the unfortunate death of these young men. The ship and the ship-owning company have miserably failed in following the Mandatory and Standard procedures for Entering an Enclosed Space, as laid by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO). The SOF of the Master is very crucial,” the communication further said.
The Sailors Helpline further asked that it should be ascertained if the vessels Master followed the Procedures for Entering an Enclosed Space. The company has to be directed to pay compensation to the deceased crew members, the Helpline demanded. “We are of the view that the death has been caused by sheer negligence and action has to be initiated against those responsible. The death is shrouded in mystery and we request a thorough probe is carried out and the parents of the young men are adequately compensated,” said the communication by Manoj Joy, coordinator, Sailors Helpline.