A 20-YEAR-OLD man from Muzaffarpur in Bihar, who was undergoing a maritime course with a Malaysian company, is reportedly missing from his ship since June 13. His father said on Monday that they suspect foul play, and have written to External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj through the local MP, Ajay Nishad. The family claimed that neither the shipping company nor the ship’s captain has informed them yet, and that they learnt about the incident from another Indian youth working on the same ship.
Uday Ranjan, a resident of Badgaon village in Muzaffarpur, had left for Malaysia in August 2016 to pursue an advanced maritime course. His passport was issued on June 15 last year, his father, Sunil Kumar Srivastava, a former village head, said.
Srivastava said Uday was studying at a maritime institute owned by one Ting Chu Ung at Sibu, in Malaysia’s Sarawak. Earlier this month, he joined another ship — Young Hing-12, owned by Young Hing Gravel Sdh. bhd. at Jalan Lanang Sibu — reportedly without entering into any contract. “On June 13, my elder son Ravi Ranjan, who is doing B.Tech in Dehrudun, got a call around 9.30 am from a youth from Uttar Pradesh who works with my son. He said my son had apparently slipped from the deck and was swept away by the current,” Srivastava said.
After several unsuccessful attempts to get the shipping company and the ship’s captain on the phone, Srivastava said they got a second call from an anonymous person on June 15. “The caller said my son had had an altercation with a Malaysian at a restaurant, and that the police should also look for Uday on land, besides searching in the sea.”
Srivastava said he didn’t find anything untoward in Uday’s voice when they last spoke on the phone on June 12. Stating that he suspects foul play, Srivastava said, “If my son fell in the sea, why doesn’t the shipping company confirm it? I don’t think my son would have risked going to a point from where he could fall — although he loves talking about river and sea, he is not a very good swimmer.”
Srivastava has informed the Bihar Bhawan joint labour commissioner Kumar Digvijay, as also the Lok Sabha MP from Muzaffarpur, Ajay Nishad.
Kumar Digvijay said, “We have taken up the matter with the Indian high commission in Kuala Lumpur. We have learnt that Uday Ranjan had started working on another ship without getting into any formal contract. We also learnt that Uday had had some arguments with a crew member of the new ship. Since he had not entered into a formal contract, it is difficult to put pressure on the ship owner.”