Glimmer of hope for Indian sailors stuck in Ajman

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Dubai, Dec 27: Sixteen Indian sailors, who have been living on a ship in Ajman port for the past five months without salaries, can now hope to go back home.

The sailors of Rusalka, which was supposed to have sailed to Somalia from Ajman, have been on the ship since July 27 after the cargo vessel was called back by Ajman port authorities following a court case. The crew members, five from Kerala, two from Tamil Nadu and the rest from North Indian states, who have not received their salaries for the past five months, have been stranded as one of the two owners of the ship absconded with their passports.

The Indian Consulate in Dubai has managed to secure their passports now and has arranged the tickets for all of them to fly back home. Anto Virgin Prabhu, 20, an engine cadet in the ship, told Khaleej Times by phone that the ship was to set sail to Somalia on July 27.

''We have been living on the ship all these months. None of us has received our wages so far and has not been able to send a penny back home,'' he said.

Another engine cadet, S Anand, remarked that he just wanted to go home. ''I have taken huge loans to come here and if I have to repay that, I have to get back and find a suitable job,'' he said.

Indian Labour Consul BS Mubarak told Khaleej Times, ''The owner of the ship left the passports and the seaman cards of the sailors in a resort and left the country.'' The court case has now been settled, he added.


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