Seafarers’ Body writes to Directorate General to ensure safety of Indian crew members

Kashish Jain

The All India Seafarers’ Union has sent urgent missives to the directorate general of shipping and German ship management company Bernhard Schulte Ship Management (BSM).

These missives came after the giant container ship Ever Given, was disallowed by the Egyptian authorities to leave the Suez Canal until the owners of the ship pay up $1 billion in compensation for the canal blockage last month.

The Ship also has 25 Indian crew members on board. The Union has demanded the Indian Crew should be safe and sound and well treated by Egyptian authorities.

The Panama-registered cargo vessel owned by Japanese shipping company Shoei Kisen Kaisha has three crew members from Mumbai and mostly from southern states like Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh.

The massive Cargo vessel which ran ground at Suez Canal and caused a massive traffic jam for over a week is still stuck in Egypt’s Great Bitter Lake only now, it has not been allowed to leave.

Lt Gen Osama Rabie has said, “The vessel will remain here until investigations are complete and compensation ($1 billion) is paid.”

Lt Gen Osama Rabie leads the Suez Canal Authority. He also told the Local News Station,“We hope for a speedy agreement.

He further added, “Minute they agree to compensation, the vessel will be allowed to move.”

Working President Abhijeet D Sangle in his letters to the DG Shipping and BSM has said, “Indian crew on board at Ever Given should not be held hostage by the Egyptian authorities. They should be well-treated… In case it gets any complaint, we (union) will demand the sign-off (of the crew) as soon as possible.”

Sangle said, “The Suez Canal Authority estimates the losses from the week ending March 29, when the Ever Given was stuck (at the canal) and blocked traffic through the canal, at $95 million in lost transit fees. There are also the costs to free the ship and other expenses to reimburse.”

He also said,“There are now two captains onboard the ship. The first is from Kerala who was leading the ship when the accident happened. The second captain from Chennai is also on board to replace the first one. Other crew members are from Mumbai, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, & some from north India.”

DG shipping, Amitabh Kumar in an interview stated, “If we receive any complaint from the company that the inquiry is not impartial, then, of course, we will intervene. But so far we have not received any such complaint.”

When the Ever Given was stuck in the Suez Canal, it blocked 400 cargo vessels and tankers. This resulted in massive financial losses for the Canal Authorities.

It has taken 12 days for authorities to clear the backlog.

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