By Parag Deulgaonkar
Seafarers should not fall prey to dubious agents, says Indian Consul General Vipul
The UAE’s Federal Transport Authority has stepped in to resolve the plight of more than 85 stranded sailors in the country, says the Indian Consul General in Dubai.
In early June, Consul General Vipul said more than 60 Indian sailors were stranded on various ships at the UAE ports and anchorages. The number rose to more than 90 by the end of June.
“We [Vipul and Indian Ambassador to the UAE Navdeep Singh Suri] met with FTA this month and they along with Sharjah Port Authority have assured us they will look into the matter of the stranded sailors. They will be speaking to the UAE ship-owners to resolve the issues of seafarers,” he told Arabian Business.
He said the FTA official want sailors to disclose their plight of non-payment of salaries as soon as possible.
“Sailors need to inform the authorities if they haven’t been paid for three or four months rather than waiting 12 months. This makes it more difficult to negotiate with the companies,” Vipul said, adding that in some cases sailors haven’t been paid for 16 months.
The Consul General said they have been able to repatriate 10 sailors in the last few weeks, and in some cases the sailors have received all your service dues.
The Indian Consul General has also raised the issue with his Panama counterpart, as about 10 of the 24 stranded ships in the UAE have Panama flags.
“We have assurance from them that they will speak to the ship owners and help settle the issue of our stranded sailors,” he said.
Vipul reiterated his advice for sailors, asking them not to fall prey to dubious agents in India.
“Sailors should check and verify the claims of these agents. It is in their interest to validate the job offers rather than blindly accept it. If they are stranded, all that we can provide them is with consular help, but we are unable to pay them their salaries.”