Two Keralites who were among the 11 stranded crew of the owner-abandoned Aframax-tanker Iron Monger-3 which has been anchored at Khor Fakkan in the Gulf of Oman for over two years managed to return home on Thursday, after living through hell aboard the ship without wages and proper living conditions.
Smigin Subrahmanian, a resident of Thiruvananthapuram and third engineer of the vessel, and Xavier Joshy from Edakochi, landed at the Cochin international airport on an Oman Air plane in the afternoon.
The Hindu had earlier reported the ordeal of the ship’s crew at the hands of its apathetic owner, Taiwanese firm TMT, and employer, the Singapore-based Nos Shipmanagement.
Fatigued and indisposed, Mr. Subrahmanian told The Hindu on arrival that indifference on the part of the Indian Consulate in Dubai towards the Indian crew (nine in all) of the vessel pained them the most.
“Nos Management, the company that employed us, never paid our salaries, though the work contract ended last month. In between, we were deprived of food, water, and fuel, which forced us to seek the intervention of the consulate. Our kin back home in Kerala ran from pillar to post to get the authorities crack the whip on our irresponsible employers, but nothing happened,” said Mr. Subrahmanian.
“Joshy and I fell ill a few days ago and on our request, the port authorities in Khor Fakkan took us to a hospital for medical check-up. The consulate authorities never really cared to even get us an attorney, who would have helped us to sue the company for non-payment of wages. The only help came from the local police and port authorities. Though our contract with the company had already ended, the ship’s agent was in no mood to repatriate us. He arm-twisted us into signing an undertaking stating the company had no liabilities against us. We would have been sent back to the ship, which is in bad shape, if we hadn’t furnished the undertaking. Once we obliged him, he secured us visas and tickets and deported us overnight,” said Mr. Subrahmanian, whose only aim now is to secure release of the rest of the Indian crew from the vessel.