Passengers stranded

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Kochi, Jan 13 (PTI) With shipping services from Lakshadweepto Kochi,Kozhikode and Mangalore ports coming to a standstillfollowing strike by ship crew unions, thousands of passengershave been stranded in the Union territory and the mainland

The Lakshadweep Development Corporation operates 24 shipsand barges, including some passengers vessels, -- M V BharatSeema, M V Kavaratti, M V Minicoy, M V Lakshadweep, M VAmindivi and M V Arabian Sea. The inter island connectivityhas also been affected.

The services have been hit after ship crew unions went onstrike demanding termination of the services of the MarineSuperintendent for alleged ''dereliction'' of duty after thedeath of a crew due to cardiac arrest.

Shameem Ali Yosuf, a helmsman of M V Bharatseema, had diedof cardiac arrest on Friday last after the ship anchored here.

The relatives and crew complained that the Corporation had nottaken care of the deceased and failed to be present when thebody was taken for post moretm.

Meanwhile, stranded passengers went on a dharna in front ofthe Corporation office here demanding subsistence allowance.

Maritime Union of India leader Mohammed Haneef said theship''s operator had the responsbility to take the body of thecrew home and carry out related formalities.

Though Lakshadweep adminsitrator J K Dadoo held severalrounds of discussions with the striking crew, a solutionfailed to materialise.

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