Dubai An Indian sailor aboard a ship stranded off the coast of Dubai has been reported missing since March 9.
Jagadeeswara Rao, 23, disappeared from a vessel that was anchored 3.5 miles off Port Rashid in Dubai, according to D. Ramu, the health and safety manager at a Dubai company where Jagadeeswara’s father Srinivasa Rao works as a welder.
Ramu, who has helped the family report the matter to the authorities, told Gulf News that Jagadeeswara came to the UAE as a seaman in September through Oasis Maritime Shipping agency in Ajman on a visa sponsored by Emirates Shipping Company LLC.
“On March 9, his friend Dileep Kumar called up Srinivasa’s home in Andhra Pradesh and informed that Jagadeeswara is missing from the ship, where they worked together.”
As per Dileep, he said, Jagadeeswara was on duty on the day he disappeared. “When his reliever went to take over the shift, he didn’t find Jagadeeswara on the ship’s deck where he was supposed to be working. They said they immediately informed ship authorities and coastguards.”
“We only came to know about this issue on March 10. We immediately collected the details from his hometown and found that the shipping agency in Ajman had received Jagadeeswara on a 96 hours’ visa and sent him to a private owner’s ship. They said they don’t know what happened later.”
On inquiring the details with the other sailors, Ramu said, he got to know that all of them were unpaid for several months and had to depend on nearby ships at times for food. “That day also they had visited another ship and shared their dinner. It was after dinner that Jagadeeswara went to the deck while others slept near the captain’s cabin, they said.”
After pursuing the issue with the agency and the ships’ owner persistently, he said, a complaint was registered with the Ports Police.
He said the police informed that they had searched for five days in the water underneath the vessel’s location. “They searched all the surrounding areas with helicopters also, but didn’t find anything about Jagadeeswara.”
Ramu has been chasing the case through the Indian Consulate in Dubai as well.
When contacted, the mission said it had taken up the matter with the local authorities and has been pursuing it further.
“We had taken it up with the foreign office, the police and the Federal Transport Authority. We have been pursuing the matter with the authorities concerned. However, they have not been able to find him,” the consulate said.
Ramu said Srinivasa was inconsolably crying, following which he was allowed to go home on leave. “All the sailors who worked with Jagadeeswara on that day also have signed off and gone home. I just hope that he is somewhere on land and will come back after seeing this report.”