16 Sailors Stranded Off UAE for Over a Year

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Fifteen Indian sailors and one Pakistani seafarer are stranded onboard a tanker 15 miles off the UAE due to a legal dispute involving the ship owners.

What happened?

The sailors are stranded onboard the vessel ‘MT Zoya1’ owned by ECB International LLC for over a year and have also not been paid salaries for four months.

Since October 1, 2017, the sailors’ contracts are long overdue for sign-off, and their passports and seafarer books have been in the possession of the UAE coastal authorities following a legal dispute.

Sailors seel help

Despite sending several reminders to the company management and ship owners, no action has been initiated. Meanwhile, Aurum Ship Management, the local managers of the vessel, has not given the sailors confirmation as to when they would provide salaries.

Captain Anand from the Aurum Ship Management, said: “The basic problem is with the ship owners. They have been unresponsive to our calls and emails. We’ve requested them to pay the crew salaries and the port fees as soon as possible. The sailors are provided with regular food, water and other necessary supplies but the men are frustrated since they’ve not been paid and the sign-off is not being completed”.

Talks in progress to repatriate stranded sailors

Indian diplomatic missions are currently working with local authorities to help expedite the repatriation and payment of the sailors.

Sumathi Vasudev, labour and consular affairs at the Indian Consulate in Dubai, “We have been in touch with the crew members, and we have intimated the local authorities (Federal Transport Authority) as well. The sailors were promised sign-off on April 10, but nothing has happened so far. The ship owners ECB International have been unresponsive to our calls as well”.

Two crewmen attempt suicide

According to the captain of the ship, the sailors are in a desperate situation and are facing severe physical, mental and financial stress. Two crew members allegedly attempted suicide onboard the vessel.

The Indian consulate has helped repatriate approximately 250 Indian national sailors since May 2017.

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Source: Khaleej Times