For the last four months,14 Indian and three Pakistani nationals aboard a ship are stuck in Somalia because of a dispute over the damage suffered by the cargo it was carrying. While the dispute remains unresolved,the crew has already run out of money and will soon face shortage of food.
The ship M V Jaipur,which is anchored off the Mogadishu port,is owned by Al Rashid Company,a Dubai-based firm. The 14 crew members from India include six from Uttar Pradesh. The others are from Tamil Nadu,Himachal Pradesh,Haryana,Madhya Pradesh and Kerala.
On September 30 last year,M V Jaipur had left Salalah port in Oman for Somalia. After 9 days,it reached Mogadishu. The next day,the vessel ran aground allegedly because of the Somali pilots negligence.
As a result,the cargo suffered extensive damage. This led to a dispute,with the cargo owner demanding $2 million from the shipping company. As the dispute dragged on,the crew ran out of money. Till date,they have not received their dues.
Among those stranded is Dinesh Kumar Singh (30) from Uttar Pradesh. His
family in Jaunpur has written to several authorities,requesting them to intervene in the matter.
Leon Ship Management,the firm which had hired Kumar,said negotiations were on to resolve the dispute. We are sending a ticket for Dinesh and he will return soon, said Ritesh Karnal,a representative of the firm.
But Kumars family is not very hopeful. His brother Vinod Singh said: According to my brother,there was no sign of resolution of the dispute. All crew members have contacted their families in India and asked them to request the government for help. I have also faxed the details of the case to the Prime Minister,the President and the Foreign Ministry.
Singh said Kumar had informed him over satellite phone that the Pakistani government had intervened on behalf of its nationals and they will return home in a few days.
Officials of the Directorate General of the Shipping,National Union of Seafarers of India and the Ministry of External Affairs,however,claimed they were not aware of the matter.
Captain Saggi,nautical advisor to the Director General of Shipping,said: It seemed there is a dispute between the owners of the cargo and the vessel. We cannot interfere in the matter.
Anshuman Gaur,Officer on Special Duty with the Ministry of External Affairs,also said the ministry was not aware of the issue,and in any case,it did not concern them.