The release of Mumbai-based sailor Sunil James from Togo jail after he was arrested on charges of helping pirates also brought freedom for his colleague Andi Vijayan,a third engineer with Marshall Islands-flagged MT Ocean Centurion. Vijayan,47,a native of Palakkad in Kerala,has been jailed in Togo prison since July 30. But,his family remained silent.
My husband had told me that I should not approach the government without his knowledge. I did not tell anyone other than keeping in touch with the shipping firm in Mumbai. Last week,I could not withhold my silence hearing that James family was waiting for his return for the funeral of his toddler son. I made up my mind to rush a complaint with Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and Union ministers A K Antony and Vayalar Ravi seeking my husbands release, said Sajitha,wife of Vijayan.
Vijayan,who has been in Merchant Navy since 1988,was assigned for nine months in the MT Ocean Centurion by Mumbai-based Accord Marine Management Pvt Ltd. He was scheduled to return home on August 10,2013,after completing the contract period.
On July 30,Vijayan called me to inform about their arrest on charges of supporting the pirates. The pirates had ransacked everything,including phones. Vijayan said he was making the call from someones phone and will not be able to call again. He said they would be released in a week. Before he hung up,Vijayan said I should not complaint until he told me, says Sajitha. Vijayan has not called her since.
Sajitha said she kept in touch with the shipping firm regularly for updates. I got uneasy as months passed. Our family members and relatives got estranged with me over my attitude. But,I firmly believed that he would be safe and return home one day, she said.