“Most of us have completed our contract, but have not been let off by owners”

About 18 Indonesian crew of the dredger ‘Irian Jaya', who are stranded in the outer anchorage of the Karaikal port for six months, have appealed to International Transport Workers Federation Inspector K. Sreekumar here. They have not been paid wages for the last six months and are surviving on substandard food made out of provisions not fit for consumption owing to the absence of a proper storage system, and dirty water. They are running low on fuel.

K.J. Kumar, Honorary Consul of the Republic of Indonesia, met Mr. Sreekumar on October 18 and sought his help to rescue the crew, some of whom have been affected mentally.

Arjun, a crew of Indonesian nationality, said that the dredger was chartered by SSS International Pte Ltd in April 2011. The crew have been living in the dark and lack medical facility.

“Most of us have completed our contract, but have not been let off by owners. I tried to reach the shore to seek the help of the local authorities, but was not able to leave the ship as my passbook and seaman book are with the local agent. We are unable to go to the land or jetty and not able to contact our family members,” he said.

Talking to The Hindu, Mr. Sreekumar said: “The Indonesian government should come forward to rescue the crew as it is an Indonesian vessel. It is their duty to provide immediate assistance. However, we are ready to provide emergency relief as and when needed.”

Shipping Minister G.K. Vasan, when informed about the plight of the crew, said that he would do the needful as soon as he received information from the officials concerned.

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