The body of Burmese sailor Naylin Maung Maung, who died a few days ago, has been kept at Tiruvallur GH with authorities waiting for his family members to arrive before carrying out the post-mortem.

A senior police officer said in case the family members cannot come, they have to give a letter of authorization, after which the post-mortem would be carried out and the body handed over to the authorised carrier.

The Burmese sailor on board the vessel Sunny Young from Indonesia became unconscious while on the ship and was brought ashore for treatment with the mandatory Medical Shore Loading Pass to a private hospital in Minjur on Sunday. He was declared dead on arrival.

The ship authorities took the body back to the ship — where it lay till Tuesday — without informing local officials. Only later, after the captain of the ship informed the police, was the body brought to Tiruvallur GH, he added.

Sources said the police delayed the case by not taking a complaint. The reason cited was that only a family member could file a complaint. For those few days, the body was kept in a freezer used to store fish, sources said.

Initial investigations revealed that the sailor died due to possible negligence. “He went inside the cargo hold without assistance. 15 minutes later, crew members found him unconscious. We suspect he inhaled some gas,” an official of Mercantile Marine Department said.

K. Sreekumar of International Transport Workers Federation said, “The police, instead of directing the ship authorities to GH, asked them to take the body back. This should not have been done.”

Manoj Joy, national coordinator, Sailor’s Helpline, said the body should have been kept in the mortuary and not in the ship. “We should also find out how the body was allowed to enter the port again. The Directorate General of Shipping needs to bring out guidelines on how to handle such situations,” he added.

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