Hyderabad: Seventeen Indian crew of a merchant ship have been locked up in a room and are being starved near Kish Port, Iran. The sailors are from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Tamil Nadu and other states.
They are also being deprived of drinking water. When the company which hired their services refused to give them their salaries for the last six to nine months, the sailors demanded that they be paid their dues. However, the company tried to push them into a ship to send them off to India without paying their salaries.
When the 17 Indian sailors refused to budge, they were taken and locked in a room at Kish Port. They are now being denied food as they are refusing to sign on blank papers that the company wants them to sign on. Some of the sailors paid Rs one to Rs four lakh to an agent to get the jobs. Apart from having had to shell out such a huge amount, the fact that they are not paid for their work is troubling the seamen.
“We are being threatened,” a crew member Pramod Vishnu Das said in a mail.
According to Das, the 17 Indian crew worked in Jack Up Barge JU251 at Salman Oil
field in Iran offshore. They were recruited by Shanti marine Service , CBD
Belapur , Mumbai RPSL No MUM .
“The company did not give us salaries for six months. For three people, salaries were not given for nine months. We were also not provided sufficient food,” Das said.
The sailors signed off on January 22 and arrived at Kish airport on Jan 23 in M V Fadak-200 boat.
Das said the company agent Salehipour came there with passports to send all the seamen back to India but without clearing the salary dues. “That is why we refused to go. For two days we stayed in a small crew boat. There was no space to sleep for all of us. The agent did not give us food,” Das said.
Eventually, all the sailors were made to get into a room at the port with the help of police and the room has been locked.
“Two Iranians are standing guard at the door watching us,” Das said. Despite the repeated pleas of the sailors for their salaries to be given, the agent only refused. “On the first day, the agent provided food the second day he came with blank paper and is threatening us to sign on it. He is also threatening to put in in jail if we do not sign,” Das said.