As the news of Suez Canal authorities arresting the Ever Given ship over compensation issues came to the forefront, concerns for its crew grew. This has prompted Indian seafarers organizations to appeal to DG shipping for the safety of the crew.
According to a Times of India report, “the All India Seafarers’ Union has sent urgent missives to the directorate general of shipping and German ship management company Bernhard Schulte Ship Management (BSM) after giant container ship Ever Given, with 25 Indian crew members on board, was seized by the Egyptian authorities over $1 billion compensation demand for the canal blockage”.
The Union stressed on safety and security of the crew saying that the “Indian crew should be safe and sound, and well-treated by the Egyptian authorities”.
Ever Given is a Panama flagged vessel owned by the Japanese shipping company Shoei Kisen Kaisha and operated by the Taiwanese company. The ship ran aground in the Suez Canal back on March 23 and was refloated after 6 days on 29 March.
Among the 25 Indian crew on the ship, 3 are from Mumbai and the rest from southern India including Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. The ship is presently anchored at the Great Bitter Lake outside the Suez Canal where investigations are underway.
“The vessel will remain here until investigations are complete and compensation ($1 billion) is paid,” Lt Gen Osama Rabie, the Chairman of the Suez Canal.
“We hope for a speedy agreement,” he said.
The minute they agree to compensation, the vessel will be allowed to move”, confirmed Rabie. The President of the Union, Abhijeet D Sangle demanded that “Indian crew on board at Ever Given should not be held hostage by the Egyptian authorities. They should be well-treated”.
” In case it gets any complaint, we (union) will definitely demand for the sign-off (of the crew) as soon as possible”, Sangle wrote in the letter to the DG Shipping and BSM.
“The Suez Canal Authority estimates the losses from the week ending March 29, when the Ever Given was stuck (at the canal) and blocked traffic through the canal, at $95 million in lost transit fees. There are also the costs to free the ship and other expenses to reimburse.”
“There are now two captains onboard the ship. First is from Kerala who was leading the ship when the accident happened. The second captain from Chennai is also on board to replace the first one. Other crew members are from Mumbai, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, & some from north India”, Sangle added.
Meanwhile, DG shipping Amitabh Kumar has revealed that they will interfere if they receive a complaint from the company.
“If we receive any complaint from the company that the inquiry is not impartial, then, of course, we will intervene. But so far we have not received any such complaint”, Kumar said