DUBAI: Two Indian seafarers stranded on a decaying merchant ship off the UAE coast for 33 months abandoned the vessel after jumping into a lifeboat on Saturday morning to save their lives.
Vikas Mishra, 34, and Arsu Lobo, 49, who had been roughing it out aboard the freighter MV Tamim without pay for 28 months said they were forced to leave the ship as their lives were in danger.
“In recent days, the situation on-board had gone from bad to worse. We had no choice,” Mishra told Gulf News from a port in Umm Al Quwain.
Informing the Federal Transport Authority and the Consul General of India in Dubai about their decision in a letter, the seafarers said they were forced to abandon the ship “due to the pathetic situation”.
“We were living in complete blackout …. The vessel was not under command. Both generators had failed and we had to use our mobile phones as torch lights. We were depressed and helpless,” said the letter.
Gulf News reported about the plight of the sailors on May 28 after the men sent out an SOS saying they had run out of food rations.
Mishra said they were stuck 24 nautical miles away from Hamriya Port (Sharjah) and 11.5 nautical miles away from Ras Al Khaimah.
“When I boarded the vessel, I weighed 83 kilograms. Now I am down to 63 kilograms. I haven’t been paid for 28 months. There were days when we had no food or water and had to survive on noodles. The company doesn’t seem interested in resolving our issue,” said Mishra, a father of two children, aged nine and three.
The freighter which has been anchored at the same spot since September 2017 flies the UAE flag and is owned by Dubai-based Elite Way Marine Services which has been caught up in financial disputes involving its other vessels in the past.