What happens when you are stranded on a ship and have no sign of relief?
In a recent incident that has sparked controversy and restarted the narrative of the shipping companies’ liabilities for their crew, nine mariners have been subjected to inhuman circumstances on a blacked-out vessel and minimal food with no salary from November 2021.
The Panama Flagged vessel “Ocean Explorer,” currently at Mumbai Anchorage, had its 09 crew members on board on 28 November and 03 December at PnV Z5 anchorage. The vessel’s owner, Marine Core, sold the ship to AS marine in Dubai. Later, it was towed to India, where AS Marine signed the Lilly Maritime crewing company contract.
Currently, the ship is on anchor with the crew from both companies. According to both Lilly and Marine Core, AS Marine is supposed to pay the wages.
Alongside, the vessel is blacked out from 1000 hrs from 04 February 2022 due to lack of fuel. The blackout during the night is hazardous to other ships as well as there lies a massive risk of collision and loss of life. The requisition for the same was sent on 19 January 2022.
Furthermore, with a meagre amount of available food and medical facilities, the morale of the crew and their families is plunging day by day. The hygiene issue is another pain. The mental agony and physical pain are becoming unbearable for the members on board and their families alike. Two crew are under medical emergencies as well, requiring immediate sign-off.
“The whole tussle is financially draining and mentally exhausting. Seeing my father struggle for what is his and living in pain and threat has put us all in a constant state of fear. We don’t know what will happen next.” says the daughter of one of the crew members currently on board.
As a mariner, one has to stay away from their family for long spells. As a result, missing important events in their families becomes common. Yet, the tussle between decision-makers has always been detrimental to the being of sailors. There lies a pertinent question: Why does it happen to people who put their heart and soul into bringing everything literally on everyone’s table.