Around 100 Indian sailors have been left stranded on 22 ships in UAE waters. The sailors have now turned to the Indian Consulate in Dubai for help.
The Consulate said that distress calls have hit a maximum this summer and they are currently dealing with 22 ships which have 97 Indians aboard. The exact number of crew members is not available but Gulf News reported that there are many sailors from the Indian subcontinent stuck on vessels in the UAE waters.
The Consulate mentioned that there are several issues which have been voiced by the sailors. They said,
Outstanding salary, non-availability of food, fresh water, fuel, harsh living conditions and no sign-off after the contract period are the major concerns voiced by the sailors.
The sailors revealed that they have not received their salary for several months. They have asked the Consulate to help them receive dues and sign off to come back to India. So far, 36 Indian sailors have been repatriated from six vessels namely, MV Gulf Pearl, MV Ayah, Enjaz 2, MV Salem, MVRock and Al Hamad 1, in the last few weeks. The Consulate is contacting the owners and employers of other vessels to help the Indian sailors.
The Consulate also revealed that in some cases, the mission is providing fuel, food and mobile recharges to the Indian sailors stuck on ships. Indian Consulate General of Dubai, CG Vipul, has asked aspiring sailors to check the financial status and credibility of ships before agreeing to work on them.
Commendable effort by CG Vipul and team @cgidubai to provide relief to stranded Indian seafarers, resolve issues
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— IndAmbUAE (@navdeepsuri) July 2, 2017
Another incident involved a merchant vessel which caught fire around Sharjah, a day before the crew was to dock. The crew was left stranded by the owner, all from Gujarat. CG Vipul said,
Finally, he contributed a portion of the ticket fare for sending them back home. We funded the rest of the amount and facilitated their journey by issuing emergency (exit) certificates.
— Anoop Pathak (@Anoop01699240) January 5, 2017
Earlier this year, the MEA had safely brought back 41 Indian sailors who were stuck on leaking merchant ships anchored at Ajman in the UAE. The employers of these sailors had seized their passports and were untraceable.