Amidst the pandemic and extreme working conditions of seafarers due to lack of crew change opportunities, there comes the news of seafarers stuck in a tug boat at the Mumbai Port.
Caught in the Firm’s Liquidation Process
The 4 Seafarers are living in 2 tug boats named Tag Rajvir and Tag Laxmi for the past 1 year and 6 months after they were caught in an alleged liquidation proceeding. Unable to leave the tug boats they aren’t able to look for new employment opportunities which have further deteriorated their prospects. Amidst this dire condition, one of them, Manas Hait, caught dengue and was admitted to the hospital for treatment.
Apparently, the company that owned the 2 boats Tag Offshore, went bankrupt and was embroiled in a liquidation case as the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) came to know about the bankruptcy. Seafarers Sahabaz Khan (23), Dipankar Vishwas (25), Jwala Singh Patel (27), and Manas Hait (29)-were asked to maintain the tugboats and remain on it until the liquidation process gets over.
Senior Officers Let-Off
One of them, an oiler named Sahabaz Khan, who joined the firm back in December 2018, has been serving beyond his terms as his contract ended last year in May.
Khan said that senior officers signed off from the boat but they were instructed to wait as some procedures need to be completed. The tribunal arranged for the salaries and basic amenities of these seafarers as part of the interim resolution professional (IRP) to give us basic amenities and salaries. The tribunal had appointed a resolution professional Sudip Bhattacharya for the purpose.
No Food, No Water – Illness Brews
Khan alleged that food and salary have become irregular in the past few months and even the bare necessity of drinking water isn’t provided. They are given tanker water which isn’t fit to drink and is mainly used for cleaning.
“We have written to various authorities, including DG Shipping, but to no avail”, said Khan. In this condition, a fellow seafarer, Jwala Singh Patel fell ill and had to be moved to his relative’s residence.
The Tribunal’s resolution professional Sudip Bhattacharya on the other hand reiterated the necessity of paying the wages of the seafarers and the immediate resolution of the liquidation process.
“Every liquidator has to follow certain procedures. Salaries may be pending for one or two months, but we have to be given some time. I cannot pay from my own pocket; the present owners of the ship have to contribute.”
The National Shipping Board on the other hand has put the onus on the port authorities saying they have to ensure human rights aren’t violated.
Video Credits: midday india – YouTube
Marine Insight does not own the rights of the video.