BERHAMPUR: Stranded on cruise ship Diamond Princess at Yokohama port in Japan for over a fortnight now, Sibasish Nayak of Old Berhampur has made a fervent plea to the Union Government to airlift him along with other Indians on board.
The vessel has been detained at Daikoku Pier Cruise Terminal at the Japanese port since February 4, and passengers quarantined, following detection of Coronavirus in a person, who had disembarked in Hong Kong on January 25.
There were around 3,700 passengers in the ship, including 142 Indians, of whom 500 have tested positive for the virus after an extensive screening. The patients are under treatment in the vessel.
However, while countries like USA, Australia, Canada and Italy evacuated their citizens but Union Ministry of External Affairs is yet to take any step even though it had acted with alacrity in the case of students and Indians in Wuhan, China.
“We had e-mailed the Indian Embassy at Tokyo and received a reply. The Embassy people said they are in touch with the Ministry of External Affairs. Still no steps have been taken so far to evacuate Indians who have tested negative for the virus,” Sibasish said in a video chat with his family and friends on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, the Japan Government has extended the quarantine period for another 14 days with airlifting left as the only option for those on board. Sibasish, a software engineer, is a resident of Pandara Street in Old Berhampur and works in a firm in Gurugram. He had left for Malaysia for working on a project along with his colleagues on January 10. After finishing work in the country, they left for Vietnam where they boarded the cruise ship.
He has been in touch with his father Lingaraj Nayak and friends on social media since February 4.
The engineer said he is surviving on fruits and noodles for the last 15 days as he is wary of consuming non-vegetarian food, which is mostly served in the ship.
But the plates on which the food is served is not cleaned and due to this the fear of infection looms large among those on board.
“We prefer to stay in isolation within our sterilised cabin for most part and go to the deck for just 10-20 minutes every day. We avoid crowd. The ship staff and local authorities have provided masks and medicines for protection,” he said.
Sibasish said, his company is trying hard with the Indian Government to facilitate their evacuation and expected some action soon. He urged the Indian Government to take expedient steps in rescuing its citizens from such risky situation.
Lingaraj has been making rounds of media and State Government offices pleading them to take up the matter with the Central Government. On Wednesday, Berhampur MP Chandrasekhar Sahu sent an e-mail to the External Affairs Ministry to take steps for safe evacuation of Sibasish from the cruise ship.