The fate of 6 Pakistani seafarers adrift in the Red Sea hangs by a thin line as authorities are torn by legalities. 2 weeks have passed since the seafarers were found 100 nautical miles from Jeddah by the PNSC oil tanker yet they haven’t been rescued. All of them are illegal seafarers and hence they can’t be rescued on legal and technical grounds.
Seafarers Plead Not Guilty
The stranded seafarers have been pleading for their lives. They have urged the authorities to dwell on the legalities later and rescue them on an urgent basis so that they can go back to their families.
“Save us. Pull us out of the tug first and hold investigations and verify our documents later, before it is too late,” said Dildar Ahmed Khan, one of them stranded seafarers.
Khan pleaded for help when his son Asadullah Khan informed about the legal issues involved via a satellite phone. Khan assured his son that he hasn’t done anything unlawful, stating that they arrived in the region legally.
“Our passports and CDCs are genuine and in order like all the other documents, ” said Dildar Khan. Khan has urged his son to reiterate this to the authorities and inform them that the crew has done nothing wrong.
Call for Urgent Rescue
“They must quickly move to save our lives, extricate us from the tug that is bobbing and drifting in any direction the waves propel it. The sea is getting increasingly rough and anything untoward can happen”, said Dildar.
His family is at their wits end with the principal earning member living in peril. Without him the family is in a tight spot financially and they can’t afford to connect with Dildar over the satellite phone.
“We cannot afford to call him frequently as a one minute call on the satellite phone, alone costs around Rs3,500,” said Dildar’s son Asad
“The condition is so bad that we are forced to only call ‘Abba’ once to find if he is still hanging on”, Asad added. With each passing minute their anxiety is escalating.
Crew Didn’t Refuse To Abandon Vessel
The 6 Pakistanis including his father were part of the crew reveals Asad. 4 were crew members while 2 others including his father are labourers.
“The government has misled the media that they all refused to abandon the vessel as their 8-month salaries remain unpaid,” Asad said.
“This is totally wrong and illogical as nobody will choose money over lives when the choppy sea waters are throwing the boat here and there”, he added.
PNSC Crew Not Taking the Pakistanis
Asad’s father, Dildar has said that the PNSC crew refused to give them any food or water. They didn’t take the Pakistani crew with them.
“The PNSC crew told them that they only have orders to provide foodstuff but cannot take them aboard,” Asad quoted his father.
“Hang our family to death, if my father is found guilty of committing something illegal upon his return, but for God’s sakes at least rescue him and other stranded Pakistanis,” said Asad.
“We are three brothers and two of them are government employees. What else is needed to prove my father’s nationality”, he added.