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Indian Consulate helps repatriate stranded sailors

Efforts on to send home sailors still stranded in UAE waters

  • Indian consulate officials with MV Golden Queen crew membersImage Credit:
  • Consul General of India Vipul third from rightand a consulate official (extreme left )with stranded sailors Image Credit:
Gulf News

Dubai: Indian Consulate in Dubai have facilitated repatriation of more than a dozen stranded sailors of two vessels this week, officials said on Thursday.

In one case, the mission supported six crew members of MV Golden Queen, which was stuck in Yemen for 10 months, to leave for India with full salary.

“The 7th crew member of MV Golden Queen Jagdeep Singh will also leave shortly. His visa is awaited. Earlier Consulate issued passports to all seven crew on priority as their passports were lost in Yemen,” the mission said in a tweet.

On November 13, the consulate said, seven other Indian seafarers from Jamnagar, Gujarat, who were stranded in Sharjah, were sent back home.

“[They] were stranded since Oct 13 when their boat MSV Safina Al Shahejan capsized. After their owner and agent abandoned them they approached Consulate. Happy to assist them and send back home today,” the mission tweeted.

Consulate officials said they are still working hard to solve the issues faced by several sailors still stranded in some other vessels in UAE waters. Enjaz 1, which has been stuck for several months in Sharjah Hamriyah Port, Enjaz 2, that is still at anchorage, MV Salem and Athens 99 are some of these ships.

Despite the mission’s efforts to push the owners and agents of these vessels to offer the pending salaries and provide food, water and medical supplies, one official said, the latter continue to be adamant in not doing anything from their side to solve the crisis.

“The owners and the agents are refusing to pay the pending salaries and are keeping the sailors in a very bad state. We continue to push them with the support of the UAE Federal Transport Authority [FTA],” the official told Gulf News on Thursday.

Wedding missed

Indian social worker Girish Pant, who has been coordinating with the consulate and FTA said, one of the sailors on Athens 99 had even missed his wedding scheduled for October 29.

“His father had also fallen ill ... We managed to send him back one week ago after the FTA officials intervened and pushed the owner. Now, the family changed the wedding date to November 21. Seven to eight sailors are still stranded at anchorage on that ship,” said Pant.

He appreciated the efforts of the consulate and FTA in repatriating dozens of Indian seafarers who were stranded in UAE waters after being abandoned by ship owners in the past few months.

India also tightened the recruitment rules for sailors to curb exploitation of Indian seafarers working for foreign vessels subsequent to a report in Gulf News about nearly 100 Indians stranded in UAE waters during summer months.

“We request the authorities to take more stringent measures to force the ship owners and agents locally also so that they will not continue such ill treatment of sailors,” said Pant.