Six crew members disembarked from the MT Pratibha Cauvery on Friday following objections from the Mercantile Marine Department (MMD) that their signing-in was questionable and contravened rules.

According to MMD sources, only four sailors are left on board the ship, which does not have proper food, water and other provisions and is berthed along the side of the Chennai Port Trust since November 21. They will remain on the ship till alternative arrangements are made by the owners.

In its letter, the MMD stated that the vessel was unsafe, unseaworthy, uncertified and lying in the berth needing further attention in accordance with the Director-General of Shipping letters of November 16 and November 29, and hence the posting of new crew contravened rules.

In his submission, the Shipping Master said they had not submitted the personnel’s Article of Agreement to the officials concerned and, moreover, the dues of original crew members had not been settled. Hence, MMD officials raised objection.

Out of the 31 sailors (the original crew) lodged in a private hotel, two left the city on Friday stating they were sick and needed immediate medical attention. The others are likely to depart in the coming days. The deadline for showing cause to the DG, Shipping notice of November 30 expired on Friday.

DG Shipping had sought explanation from the owners, who failed to honour their commitments on various counts such as not vacating the berth within 48 hours and not adhering to safety norms.