A 15-member crew of the stranded MV Pien Nam has been supplied with diesel, food and water that would be sufficient for the next five days, said International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) inspector, Chennai and Madras Port Trust Employees Union assistant secretary K. Sreekumar on Sunday.

For the past few weeks, the Vietnam vessel is at the outer anchorage of Chennai Port Trust owing to a technical snag. It was on its way to Tuticorin. The crew members are expecting help from the authorities concerned.

The news about the vessel was referred to Mercantile Marine Department (MMD), which in turn alerted the ITF, since it is an international vessel.

Talking to The Hindu, Mr. Sreekumar said: “Their shipping agent is helping them. The crew members have not approached us. I have asked the Chennai Port officials to provide us a vessel so that we can interact with them about their needs. Since the crew members have not sought our help, we will come into the act only when there is a need for it. However, we are always ready to help them on humanitarian grounds.”

According to port users, the vessel is facing several problems, such as salaries not paid to crew for five months and the owners having defaulted in payment to service providers, following which the latter had moved court.

A top official of Chennai Port Trust said, “We cannot allow all the passing vessels to berth inside our port. However, if they want to berth outside, they can always do it. Since this vessel does not have any loading or unloading commitment with us, we cannot allow it.”

P. Misra, Principal Officer-cum-Joint DG (Tech), MMD, said they were in the process of setting up a Seafarers Welcome Centre in a month's time that would work on a 24/7 basis and provide facilities to foreign seafarers such as making international calls, providing medical aid and other issues.