The Maritime Union of India (MUI), the body representing merchant navy officers, has recently launched a project titled ‘Service to Stranded Seafarers’ to collate the database of Indian seafarers who are languishing in jails located abroad.
The MUI said on Monday that a delegation will be meeting the Union Minister for Shipping and the Minister of External Affairs to seek the government’s intervention to facilitate legal help to seafarers.
The MUI is affiliated with the London-based International Transport Federation (ITF), which is a democratic, affiliate-led federation. It is popular as the world’s leading transport authority that connects about 700 affiliated trade unions from 150 countries worldwide.
Only those individuals who could contact their relatives staying in India get legal assistance via the MUI. There is no recent data of Indian seafarers who have been imprisoned in jails of Iraq, Indonesia, Iran, and other countries. Many of these prisoners continue serving jail sentences due to a lack of legal support.
Per the ‘Service to Stranded Seafarers’ project, the MUI facilitated temporary passports to two Indian seafarers through the Embassy of Tehran and the cooperation of ITF in India.
The two Indian seafarers who had been stranded in 2019 on the ‘5 Seas Princess’ ship at the Bandar Abbas Port, Iran are expected to land in the coming next week.
The MUI has planned to consult eminent lawyers across in collaboration with Indian embassies, the Indian Shipping Ministry, ITF and maritime unions worldwide to seek the early release of these Indian seafarers.