Indian sailors without money stranded in Oman
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Last Updated: Thursday, March 29, 2012, 18:07
Dubai: Five Indian sailors have been stranded for the last five months on an oil tanker without salary and basic amenities in Oman, a media report said.

The situation, according to the report, is so dire that even a water cooler that was arranged for the crew has been removed owing to non-payment by ship owners.

"We are living in the tanker without being paid since the ship was brought here for some repairs about five months ago," Vinod Chavan, a crew on board Oasis 1, docked at the Duqum Dry Docks, said, as quoted in the report.

The captain of the ship Jitendra Singh Negi said the problem of irregular salary payment has been going on for over a year, but that there are bigger problems.

"More than the payment, it has come down to maintaining the dignity of the crew," he said.

According to him, the biggest problem was the availability of potable water.

"The company, after initial problems of food, has organised for food at the dry dock canteen but there's no potable water on board the ship," he said.

Captain Negi said that repair work was done a long time ago but the ship cannot sail out as the company owes money to Oman Drydock Company (ODC). He said during their trip to Yemen, the crew had to literally beg for food. In some cases they procured food by selling diesel.

"We have young crew [members] and I am afraid with this experience, they may get put off and give up the profession," he said, adding, "this is the darkest hour of my career where I cannot protect dignity of my own crew."

Mahesh Rawat, a crew on board, said that when the salary was not being paid in Yemen last year, the crew had approached International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF) to resolve the issue.

"Since we are seafarers, we don't fall under local Omani labour laws but can complain to International Maritime Organisation (IMO) about the non-payment of salaries," he said.

The Indian embassy has assured the crew that it will take up the matter with the company.


First Published: Thursday, March 29, 2012, 18:07

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