Kin concerned about missing Indian sailors

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Mumbai, Mar 11 : The family members of 25 Indian sailors of a Panamanian cargo vessel that went missing in the Black Sea three weeks ago, have expressed concern over no breakthrough emerging as yet.

"We are not interested in what is behind the ship. Now, it's 23 days, you are seeing the plight of the families. Please bring them back," said B. Krishnan Nair, a relative of the missing sailors.

"I don't know as I come from a remote place, but people here say that there is something suspicious about the accident. The investigation has yielded nothing so far even after 20-21 days. Nothing has come up clearly and with proof," said Rameshwar Mangal, father of missing sailor Alok.

Meanwhile, Santhosh Biswas, director of Pelican Marine, Pelican Marine, the agency that hired the crew for the vessel, said, "The letters have been issued as a matter of regular procedure and it in no way indicates that search and investigations have been abandoned."

Biswas further said that the Directorate General of Shipping and Panamian officials are probing the incident.

MV Rezzak carrying 25 Indian crew and steel billets as cargo left Russia for Turkey on February 17, a 24-hour voyage. Next day, the vessel with the crew went missing and there was no distress call.

A Turkish national owns the vessel. Mumbai-based Pelican Marine recruited the crew for MV Rezzak. Turkish authorities are carrying out the search and rescue operation.

The Turkish ship was equipped with an automatic identification system, but this was not in use or switched off mode when it left Russia.

The probe into the disappearance of MV Rezzak is likely to figure at the two-day International Maritime Search and Rescue Conference (IMSARCON 2008), beginning here today.

Search by the international Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) has found no trace of the lost ship.

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