Friday, October 16, 2009

Kith and kin seek govt intervention

Kith and kin seek govt intervention

MARGAO, OCT 3, 2008 – Worried over the safety of the sailors onboard the hijacked ship Stolt Valor in Somalia, relatives and friends of the two Goan Sailors on Friday has demanded the immediate intervention of the Union government, the Director of Shipping and NUSI to secure the release of the seafarers.
Family members and friends of the two Goan sailors Alistair Fernandes (Cuncolim) and Isidore Fernandes (Raia) called on the NUSI office at Benaulim and requested the Union to step up efforts to secure the safe release of the seafarers.
Panicked over reports that the seafarers have fallen ill and the ship has run out of medicines, the family members demanded the immediate intervention of NUSI and the government to get the hijacked sailors released.
Led by Human Rights activist, Neves Anthony Rebello, a delegation comprising the relatives and friends will call on both the Rajya Sabha MP Shantaram Naik and South Goa MP Francisco Sardinha, besides PWD Minister, Churchill Alemao to ask the government to intervene in the crisis.
“Its 21 days since the ship was hijacked. There are two Goan sailors, besides 16 others from other parts of India. They are believed to have fallen sick and the ship has run out of medicines”, Rebello said, while called for urgent steps to get the hijacked sailors released.
It is learnt that NUSI officials contacted Alistair’s family on Friday evening and informed them about the protest planned in Mumbai on October 7.


Centre’s lackluster response to hijacked ship crew draws flak
Centre’s lackluster response to hijacked ship crew draws flak
NUSI demands safe passage of sailors
MARGAO, OCT 3 – Demanding to know what the Indian government has done to secure the release of the sailors, including two Goan sailors, hijacked by Somalian Pirates, the National Union of Seafarers of India (NUSI) has warned it would be forced to advise Indian seafarers to boycott and avoid serving on vessels which are trading in these pirate infested areas – a situation which will have far reaching effects on the Indian economy.
Sending a message loud and clear that Indian seafarers are very much agitated by the cold response of the government in securing the release of the hijacked sailors, NUSI has demanded that the Indian government ensure safe passage for Indian seafarers in Somalia.
NUSI Goa representative Xavier Rodrigues said NUSI and Maritime Union of India (MUI) under the banner of Indian Seafarers Federation (ISF) will take a peaceful march on October 7 at pm in Mumbai. To express solidarity with the families and relatives of the hijacked sailors, the whole industry, officers, petty officers, ratings, shore staff, medical doctors, ship-chandlers will participate in the peaceful march.
He said a similar march or meeting will be held in Goa too.
NUSI general Secretary Abdulgani Serang has said Indian Seafarers are very much agitated by the “cold response” attitude of the government, adding “we will not be sitting ducks for the pirates to hijack our ships.
Demanding to know the response of the Goa government in the matter, Serang has said it is sad that the Indian government has not given the confidence to the Indian seafarers who are trading in these pirate infested areas.
According to Serang, Seafarers have informed him that there are more than 25 pirates on board the hijacked ship StoltValor and there is acute shortage of food and water. Besides, the morale of the seafarers are down and they are threatened of bodily harm by the pirates, he added.

Indian seafarers warn of worldwide stir
Indian seafarers warn of worldwide stir
Demand release of hijacked ship crew by Oct 22
Now, Indian Seafarers have warned of a worldwide agitation if the crew members on board hijacked ship “Stolt Valor” is not released by October 22.
Two Goan sailors from Cuncolim and Raia are amongst the 18 Indians, two Philippinos, one Russiam and a Bangladeshi seafarer have been held hostage by pirates in Somalia since September 15.
While the pirates have recently released the ship held hostage since August 21, the Indian Seafarers Federation consisting of the National Union of Seafarers of India and the Maritime Union of India have warned of a worldwide agitation by Indian seafarers begin this week if the Indian government fails to secure the release of the hijacked ship.
Setting a deadline for the Indian government to secure the release of the ship by October 22, the Indian Seafarers Federation has further warned that Indian seafarers will refrain from trading in the pirate-infested areas of Somalia.
In a representation to the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, the Federation has regretted that there has been no positive response from the Indian government despite the situation going from bad to worse.
The two Unions have demanded not just the release of the seafarers, but a safe passage for other Indian seafarers by providing escort ships by Indian Navy in the priate infested areas of Somalia.
The representation states that the Indian shipping fraternity and the international community are disturbed at the developments in Somalia.
So far, the Indian National Ship Owners Association, Maritime Association of Ship Owners, Ship manager and Agents, Foreign owners Ship Managers Association, besides NUSI and MUI have appealed to the government of Japan and the Japanese ship owners to resolve the issue amicably.
Recently, thousands of seafarers, family members of the hijacked seafarers and shipping company officials had participated in the peace March at Mumbai and in 12 Indian cities of Chennai, Diu, Goa, Kochi, Port Blair, Raigad, Tuticorin, Vishakapatnam, Nhava Valsad, Kolkatta and Lakshadweep to demand the release of the hijacked ship.


Churchill thanks Centre for release of Indian sailors
PWD Minister Churchill Alemao has thanked the Indian government for finally securing the release of the Indian sailors, including two Goan sailors onboard the hijacked ship Stolt Valor by Somali pirates.
Expressing happiness that the two Goan sailors, Allister Fernandes and Isidore Fernandes have finally returned home safe and unharmed, Alemao expressed his gratitude to the Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, Congress president Sonia Gandhi and the External Affairs Minister.
The PWD Minister recalled that he had sought the intervention of the Prime Minister, placing before him the grievances, sufferings and agony of Goan families whose sons were onboard the hijacked ship.
Meanwhile, the National Union of Seafarers of India have appreciated all those seafarers, shipping companies, individuals, maritime administration who had taken part in raising the awareness and displaying solidarity during troubled times.
“The effort of the government of India needs to be appreciated for this positive outcome. The International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) also deserves special appreciation”, said NUSI general secretary Abdulgani Y Serang.
Meanwhile, Serang said NUSI will now plan about the Hebei Spirit issue where Captain Jasprit Chawla and Chief Officer Syam Chetan have been detained in Korea for nearly a year. “The judgement of the Korean court will be delivered on December 10, 2008. The entire shipping fraternity is ready for action in support of the seafarers who were doing their duty at the highest professional level”, he added.

Another Goan under custody of Somali pirates
While the safe arrival of two Goan seamen who were abducted by Somali pirates may have brought joy to the two families, another Goan family continues to spend anxious moments hoping that their son is also released by Somali pirates.
Clive Fernandes (23) of Agonda along with seven other Indians and crew of other nationalities on board the Iranian ship MV Delight, carrying 38,000 tonnes of wheat from Hong Kong to Iran, when Somali pirates hijacked the vessel on November 18 off the Yemen coast near the Gulf of Aden.
When contacted, a source from National Union of Seafarers of India (NUSI) at Mumbai who reportedly helped and coordinated to secure the release of MT Stolt Valor tanker told Herald that the ship owners are already in touch with the hijackers.
According to family members, Clive had called up his parents only once on November 20, the day his recruiting agents from Mumbai first broke the news at his home. Since then, the family has been in the dark about his status, except for claims from the ship’s Indian crew recruiting company M/s Wilhelmsen Ship Management, that all on board are safe.
The anxious parents have pinned their hopes on God to take care of Clive’s safety and are eager to see him back. Incidentally, Clive was supposed to sign-off immediately once the ship docks at Iranian port and reach home in another two days time.
Clive’s father Vincent along with relatives and Agonda Sarpanch Jovi Fernandes on Tuesday met Commissioner for NRI and Overseas Affairs Eduardo Faleiro, who reportedly assured all help and is learnt to have established contacts at the national level.
However, on learning about the dispatch of about three naval ships in Somalian waters to fight the pirates, family members are worried that use of any force against the pirates could only endanger the lives of Clive and others.
According to sources, MV Delight is the 17th ship to be hijacked still under Somali pirates captivity as 16 other ships including a Saudi super tanker (Sirius star-owned by Aramco) carrying $100 million worth oil cargo are under the same pirates siege awaiting release after meeting ransom demands. The family has become more apprehensive after hearing the testimonies of both seamen from the hijacked Stolt Valor tanker on Monday.
“Clive’s mother has become weak and all she can do is cry and pray constantly,” informed a family source.
Clive’s father, a veteran seaman who is presently at home on vacation, says that he never experienced such situations in his entire shipping career.
“But I had heard of pirate-infested areas and along with other crew members used to be on guard while sailing through these certain areas,” he said.

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