Indian sailors stranded on offshore support vessel

Eight Indian sailors have been stranded without wages for nine months aboard offshore support vessel “Topman” (IMO 9030400) since November 2017 when it entered Dubai waters.

The crew members of the ship, which has been docked at berth No 13 in Dubai Maritime City (DMC) have claimed that their company has abandoned them without providing wages, or sufficient food and fuel. They said they had been paid only one month’s salary since they reached Dubai waters and that the supply of food and drinking water was “minimal”. As they were running out of fuel, they have started rationing fuel for night-time while spending the daytime under a tarpaulin roof they made on the deck on September 21st.

The sailors said that they could not leave the ship as they do not have UAE visas. The ship’s MLC complaint certificate and all the firefighting appliances have expired.

The crew said that they had approached various authorities for getting their pending wages and early repatriation. In the latest mail, sent on September 24th, the Federal Transport Authority (FTA) of the UAE warned the Indian owner of the ship that the company’s activities would be banned in the UAE by September 27th if he did not provide a plan to sort out the sailors’ issues.

An executive from the company’s representative office in Sharjah said the company was facing a financial crisis and would be able to make the full payment of the pending wages only after selling the vessel.

Emails from the Panama Consulate in Dubai indicated that the mission was trying to assist the company to sell off the ship and was ready to arrange tickets and visas for the sailors if they wished to fly home before receiving the full payment.

The mission said that it had been in constant touch with both crew members and the company to resolve the issue. They were also in touch with the FTA and the Panama Consulate to resolve the issues of sea-fares of the ship.

1992-built, Panama-flagged, 2,411 gt Topman is listed on Equasis as owned by Bhambhani Shipping Ltd care of manager Halani Shipping Pvt Ltd of Mumbai, India.