As the stranded Indian crew of the Suez Canal grounded ship Ever Given lives under the fear of being stuck for a long time, photographs of them meeting visitors are being circulated.
After days of uncertainty since the ship was relocated on 29th March, the crew was allowed to meet visitors for the first time. At present, the ship is at the Great Bitter Lake, outside the canal for further investigation.
An Indian seafarers organization based in Mumbai visited Ever Given and met the distressed crew. The meeting between the seafarers and the General secretary and treasury of the National Union of Indian Seafarers (NUSI) was facilitated by ITF from London.
Speaking on the issue, ITF South Asia Vice Chairman, Abdulgani Serang said “representatives of a local affiliated trade union of seafarers in Egypt boarded the ship and expressed solidarity on behalf of the ITF…This will come as a morale booster to the seafarers as they will know that the shipping community is concerned about their welfare. If they need any legal support, that may also be provided”.
“The visit was primarily a welfare one – we wanted to make sure the crew were all safe and well and not suffering.
“It was important to show solidarity with our fellow countrymen and seafarers, they should not be held to ransom and should be allowed to leave the ship.
“We want to make sure they are not victims of any injustice”, he added.
The union representatives were informed that the crew is fine and there’s no issue related to wages, food or provisions. The whole crew and the captain reiterated this when Egyptian trade union representatives spoke to them.
“I have personally spoken to the master (captain) twice and he has assured me everyone on board is well”, revealed Serang.
Serang further revealed that the crew understands the situation and are cooperating fully.
“ Two seafarers — the second engineer and electrician are being signed off and their reliever will join soon which is positive support from the Egyptian authorities. The crew are keen to resume sailing soon. The ITF team also delivered internet devices to the crew,” added Serang.
Earlier the Suez Canal Authorities seized the ship over compensation issues.