Oil shipping
An Indian sailor was found hanging in an oil tanker in the international waters off the shores of UAE. His body was brought to the UAE on January 29 for further action. Photo for illustrative purpose only. Image Credit: Reuters

Dubai: A young Indian sailor reportedly ‘ended his life’ aboard a ship in international waters and the UAE authorities allowed his body to be brought here, the Indian Consulate in Dubai said on Sunday.

The mission has also thanked the UAE authorities for their quick response to a plea from his colleagues, who were unable to sail further to India with the mortal remains.

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The 24-year-old youth hailing from northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh was among 13 crew members on board an Indian oil tanker that left for Gujarat from Sharjah on Tuesday, according to the local shipping agency. “There was no cargo. They were taking the ship for scrapping in India,” Manohar A.B, the manager of the agency, told Gulf News.

Found hanging

He said the crew members informed the ship’s owners back home that the young seaman was found hanging in the boiler room and they returned to the nearest port in Khor Fakkan.

“They reached here on Friday morning. We informed the consulate and all local authorities and sought permission to anchor the ship and bring the body to the shore,” Manohar added.

Neeraj Agrawal, consul for Press, Information and Culture at the Indian Consulate, said the mission had received the appeal from the colleagues of the deceased who could not travel with his mortal remains and another message from the port master.

No freezer to carry body

“They [crew members] were under trauma and they didn’t have a freezer facility to keep him for days till they reach India. That is why, they returned to UAE waters,” he explained.

He said the mission contacted all the relevant local authorities and sought their assistance to give approval for the ship’s anchorage and to receive the mortal remains.

Shifted to mortuary

Jitender Singh Negi, consul (Labour and Consular), who visited Khor Fakkan port on Sunday, said the UAE authorities gave the necessary permissions and a police team was sent aboard the ship to facilitate the transfer of the body to the port on Sunday. “We took the body down and it has been shifted to a mortuary in Khor Fakkan. We have to wait for the rest of the procedures now,” said Manohar.

Negi said the reason for the youth’s alleged suicide was not clear and an investigation would be conducted by Sharjah Police. “We have requested the police to expedite the procedures. We have also spoken to his family. They are shocked. They said he was a happy-go-lucky guy. He had talked to them a few days ago also.” Agrawal said there was no complaint about salary delays by the crew.

Repatriation of body

He said that the consulate would support the repatriation of the mortal remains by air once the legal formalities are over. Meanwhile, the crew members would have to remain here to facilitate the investigation. Thanking the UAE authorities, Agrawal added: “We are very thankful to the quick action taken by the UAE authorities in this matter. Undoubtedly, they have played a very positive role.”