Indian sailors without money stranded in Oman

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.

PTI



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

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