indian minister comes to rescue of stranded sailors
Last Updated : GMT 07:25:12
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Last Updated : GMT 07:25:12
Arab Today, arab today

Indian minister comes to rescue of stranded sailors

Arab Today, arab today

Arab Today, arab today Indian minister comes to rescue of stranded sailors

41 sailors say they are stuck on four ships off Ajman without salaries
Ajman/Dubai - Arab Today

 India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has once again become a saviour for distressed Indians abroad.

Forty-one sailors, who have been stranded without salaries in four ships — owned by one company — at anchorage 9km away from Ajman Port, have become the latest beneficiaries of Swaraj’s quick intervention to address distress calls through social media.

Over the weekend, the sailors had sent an SOS message to the minister on Twitter seeking her help to get their unpaid wages for several months and to fly back home. Following this, Swaraj had directed the Indian Consulate in Dubai to assist the sailors at the earliest.

On Monday, Swaraj tweeted about the mission contacting captains of two vessels, ship owner, port authorities and other government bodies to resolve the issue.

“They have essential supplies for two weeks. We are helping in the settlement of their dues and release of the crew

“I have asked the mission to ensure Indian sailors do not suffer for want of essential supplies,” she posted in a series of tweets.

In a video taken on Monday, a group of sailors aboard one of the ships thanked Swaraj. “Because of you, we will be going back home and we will get our salaries. Thank you so much ma’am,” they said.

Speaking to Gulf News, the distressed sailors said they were happy and thankful that the Indian government came to their rescue following Swaraj’s intervention.

They said they had been demanding for their pending salaries for several months. “There are crew members who did not receive salaries from four to 14 months depending on when they joined the ships,” said one of them.

“Sometimes we had no food and sometimes we don’t have diesel ... Night time we are sleeping in the dark,” said another one.

Sailors said it had been tough to feed their families and pay house rents back home. “We are not able to pay our children’s school fees and our loans. We stay away from our families and work hard to support them. But our fate has been really bad.”

Adding to their woes, two of the ships have leakage and the sailors said the vessels would sink if they stopped scooping out water using mugs and buckets.

On Monday, a team of divers was sent to fix the leakage. But, the sailors said, they could not check it properly as the ships are in the water.

Nasser Obaid Al Suwaidi, director of Marine Affairs Department in Ajman, said they did not receive any emergency call from sailors and he added that legally marine agent is primarily responsible for looking into the sailors’ issues.

However, the sailors said they were contacted by Sharjah Port officials informing them that paper works to allow them to enter Sharjah Port were going on.

In a press release, the Consulate said the matter has been taken up with the UAE authorities, including the port authorities at Sharjah and Ajman.

“The Consulate had also established contact with the captains of 2 vessels. They have confirmed that sufficient stock of fuel, food and water is available, which could last for a couple of weeks. The crew has requested for pending salaries and release from duty.”

“The Consulate had also spoken to the sponsor and sought his assistance for settlement of all issues with the crew on priority basis. It is hoped that an amicable solution will be forthcoming at the earliest, with the cooperation of all parties involved, including the local authorities. The Consulate will continue to pursue the matter with all relevant parties in order to arrive at an amicable settlement, keeping in view the best interest of the Indian sailors,” it added

 

source : gulfnews

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