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04 Jul 2017
"Relief for two stranded Indian sailors Punjab and Haryana governments assure financial support"
Credit : TSO Bureau

"Two Indian sailors stranded in UAE waters have been assured financial support by their state governments, the Indian Consulate in Dubai has confirmed. The governments of Punjab and Haryana have allocated funds to compensate the sailors aboard the vessel Sharjah Moon that has been stranded in UAE waters for a year. Confirming this, Consul-General of India in Dubai Vipul told Gulf News that India’s Ministry of External Affairs had written to chief ministers of the states. The vessel with six Indian and one Sri Lankan crew members had been at anchorage in UAE waters since July 2016. The sailors have been stranded with no salary and poor supplies of food, water and fuel. Fed up with the false promises of ship-owner Alco Shipping, the crew docked the vessel in Hamriya Port in Sharjah without permission on May 9 and sought the help of the Indian Consulate in Dubai through social worker Girish Pant. The mission has been supporting them with food and water supplies and working with the port authorities in the UAE to assist in their immediate signoff. “Since there was no sign of the company keeping its promise to pay their pending salaries, without which they refused to fly back home, our ministry had written to the state governments seeking their support for the crew,” Vipul told Gulf News. “We now have confirmation from Punjab and Haryana governments to support the crew. The sailors Vikram Singh and Nayab Singh will receive their pending salaries from their state government’s funds once they reach India,” said Vipul. Responding to the news, the sailors said they were relieved that there is some assurance about receiving their pending wages now. “Going by the way things have been happening, we are not sure when we will be paid by the company. I joined this ship on July 3 last year and I have not received a penny. So, I would prefer going back home at the earliest and taking the fund offered by our chief minister,” said Vikram Singh. Last week, the owner of the company told Gulf News that he would arrange the payment and signoff of all the sailors stranded on his vessels by July 15. The consulate and the Sharjah Port Authority, however, have helped the captain of the ship to fly home as he was willing to leave without the salary to attend his brother’s marriage. On Tuesday, the mission also provided fresh water to the vessel MT Ocean Pride that has been at anchorage off Hamriya Port for two years. The sailors said they had no water for last 20 days and the company also delayed giving permission to accept the water sent by the mission for about 11 hours on Tuesday. Also it is reported that about 100 Indian sailors aboard 22 ships have been stranded in UAE waters and have sought the help of the Indian Consulate General in Dubai, according to a media report. Citing the Indian Consul General of Dubai, Vipul, the Gulf News said that the number of distress calls from Indian sailors stranded in UAE waters had hit its peak this summer. “We are currently dealing with cases of 22 ships. There are 97 Indians aboard these vessels,” the diplomat said. Though the exact number of crew members belonging to other nationalities is not available with the Indian Consulate, the mission said there are sailors from Sri Lanka, the Philippines, Myanmar and Pakistan also on these ships. “Outstanding salary, non-availability of food, fresh water, fuel, harsh living conditions and no sign-off after the contract period are the major concerns voiced by the sailors,” the mission said in reply to questions by the paper. Majority of the sailors have complained about not being paid by their employers for several months. They have also sought to sign off and fly home after receiving payment of their pending dues, the paper said. The consulate said it had been contacting the owners and agents for settlement of the dues, provision of food, water and fuel, request for sign off, it added. The mission has helped repatriate 36 sailors from six ships — MV Gulf Pearl, MV Ayah, Enjaz 2, MV Salem, MVRock and Al Hamad 1 — in the past few weeks, the daily said. In some cases, the Consulate has been providing food, water and even fuel and recharge of their mobile phones, it added. Vipul said the mission had been taking up the issues of the stranded sailors, case by case, with the relevant authorities."
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