Dubai: As many as 11 sailors stranded for months in ships off the coast of Sharjah have been repatriated, an Indian diplomat said on Tuesday.
Indian Consul-General Vipul confirmed that sailors from four ships abandoned by their ship owners have been sent home.
“We’ve handled two main cases in four abandoned ships over the last several weeks. One was a ship called Zoya 1, which was stuck off the coast of Sharjah for several weeks. Therein, we were helped by the coast guard and the Sharjah Port Authority. Six Indians on board that ship were repatriated yesterday (Monday) and day before yesterday,” Vipul told Gulf News.
“The ship was stuck because the company had not paid the port dues,” he added.
Five more sailors from three ships — namely Al Nouf, City Elite and Lowdale — under the Venous Ship Management and Operation LLC based in Fujairah were also repatriated.
The Federal Transport Authority (FTA) for Land and Maritime issued a ban on Venous Ship Management in March for abandoning and ill-treating seafarers. The same company was also blacklisted by the Indian Consulate in July last year for the same reasons.
“The sailors were in bad shape. Health-wise, they were okay but they were off port limits so food and fuel was a problem and their salaries were not being paid. The conditions on board were bad but I am happy that they are home now,” Vipul said.
Vipul said the consulate will continue to help seafarers and is currently working on other cases.
“We are continuously doing this and [extending help to abandoned seafarers] and we’ve made great progress with the FTA. There are a few ships that are still in bad condition but we are working on the case actively with the help of FTA and port authorities,” he said.