The group of 14 Gujarati sailors who had been stranded in Yemen after their vessels were bombed on September 8, were moved to safety as they managed to reach Djibouti across the Red Sea on African coast with the help of Indian officials late on Monday.
“The group of sailors were moved from Khokha port to Mokha port in cars. From Mokha, they boarded a passenger ferry and reached Djibouti across the Red Sea on African Coast on Monday evening,” Adam Thain, vice president of Kutchi Vahanvata Owners Association confirmed on Tuesday.
These sailors are survivors of Dubai-registered Al Mustafa and Mandavi (Kutch) registered Al Ashmar —the twin dhows which were bombed during a Saudi Arabia-led air raid off Al Khokha port on September 8 when they were approaching Khokha port. The air strike had left three sailors dead of the each craft while a crew member is still missing. After the aerial attack, the survivors were shifted to Al Hudaydah city of Yemen by their shipping agents.
“We are safe now. The Indian embassy officials are now in the process of booking air tickets for us to send us back home. But two of our fellow crew members are still nursing injuries that they sustained in the bombing and there is dilemma over whether to continue their treatment here or send them back home with rest of us,” one of the sailors told The Indian Express on Monday afternoon.
Thain further said that the sailors had been put up in a local hotel in Djibouti by Indian consular officers.
Nalin Kothari, the Indian consul in Djibouti, confirmed via an email that the operation was on to repatriate the 14 seamen.
“The passenger boat operator had found it safe to take on board the two injured sailors even though the journey from Mokha to Djibouti takes around 24 hours. But the flight from Djibouti to Dubai via Ethiopia takes much shorter time and from Dubai to Ahmedabad even shorter. So, much depends on what airlines think of the condition of the two ailing seamen,” Thain said.
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