Human Rights at Sea and the Dominica Flag State Administration remain closely engaged in the background investigations into the incident of the hijacking of the MT GULF SKY (IMO 9150377) on 5/6 July 2020 from UAE to Iranian waters, which later saw 26 of the 28 crew who had been deprived of their liberty and threatened with being shot during the ordeal, repatriated to India. This has included close engagement with the UAE Federal Transport Authority.
At the time of writing, those concerned await the news of the apparent imminent repatriation of the remaining two crew from Tehran; one AB seaman and an engineer.
Both organisations are of the view, based on the facts made available, that the crew have been used as pawns in this incident and which now has geo-political ramifications.
According to the Captain’s personal account this was not the case of a daring escape to freedom by unpaid crew during the COVID-19 crisis thereby setting a new precedent for seafarers.
Human Rights at Sea and the Dominica Maritime Flag Administration re-iterate their primary concern for the health, safety and well-being of the crew, and have been in contact with welfare organisations to confirm support for those crew who both need and request it. It is understood that ITF, ISWAN and the Mission to Seafarers have been in separate contact with the crew.
CEO, David Hammond, said: “From the numerous statements taken, the video testimony calls that have occurred these six days and the personal engagement we have had, undoubtedly the crew have been through a traumatic experience, have been in fear of their lives, and some still remain so.”
Commonwealth of Dominica International Maritime Registry President and CEO, Eric R. Dawicki stated that: “The idea of using crew as pawns in a highly organized criminal conspiracy is almost incomprehensible. The reputation of seafarers has been shattered, but more importantly the tenets of humanity have been devolved in lieu of diplomacy, the rule of law and an adherence of international regulation. The world cannot evolve its civil station if we cannot respect the whole of humanity and not just the ego driven elements of a select few.”