Abandoned on stranded ship in the UAE, Indian sailors are threatened by recruitment agency in Mumbai for asking labor costs
Hyderabad: For demanding salary dues for the crew of a ship
practically abandoned in the Persian Gulf, the ship’s captain has
been issued threats by a recruitment agency of sailors in Mumbai.
The ship is stranded off the Ajman Coast with eight Indian sailors,
apart from two foreign nationals. Two of the sailors are from
Captain Ayyappan Swaminathan of Tamil Nadu on board the ship MV Azraqmoiah operated by Elite Way Marine Services, Dubai, has submitted a complaint to the authorities concerned on April 14 about the threats he has received. An audio recording was also submitted to the authorities, including Director-General of Shipping and the Consulate General of India, Dubai also
In the voice message, the recording of which is in possession of TOI, the caller threatens Capt Ayyapan Swaminathan with dire consequences when he lands in Mumbai. He also uses abusive words against the captain.
The person who identifies himself as Lokendar tells a crew member of the ship Alok Pal, in the voice message that he should better accept whatever is being offered in terms of clearing salary dues and not listen to the captain. Lokendar belongs to Oath Marine Services in Mumbai which recruited the sailor to serve on board the ship.
In the voice that purportedly belongs to Lokendar, he mentions that one sailor had already returned to India from a stranded ship and two more from another ship were also to return by accepting whatever percentage of salary dues are given to them.
“We have been abandoned by our own employer. We are struggling on board for the last two years. Every day begins and ends with a nightmare,” Capt Ayyapan Swaminathan said in the letter to the authorities. “In this critical situation, I am getting abusive and threatening voice messages. We are worried. We do not have a guarantee that we will be safe until we have been repatriated,” Capt Ayyappan said in the letter urging for their safety. Capt Ayyappan was recruited through Rassiya Shipping, Mumbai.
The captain and sailors are stranded off Ajman Anchorage, UAE for several months. Out of the 10 sailors abroad M V Azraqmoiah, eight are from India. They include Ramesh Gadela and Yalkala Rao Chekka from Srikakulam in Andhra Pradesh, Capt Ayyapan Swaminathan, Bharath Haridass and Gurunathan Ganesan from Tamil Nadu, Alok Pal from Uttar Pradesh, Naskar Sourabh from West Bengal and Rajib Ali from Assam. They have been on the ship from 18 to 33 months. There are four crew members on board MV Azraqmoiah recruited by Oath Marine Services.
“We are worried more after the voice message that we have received. We are being threatened to accept whatever is given to us or else we will continue to be abandoned and no one will ever be able to get us out of the ship,” Alok Pal told TOI. Alok’s salary dues for 18 months and he has to get Rs 5.20 lakh. He said he had to spend Rs 3 lakh only to be recruited.