A 13-member all foreign crew, on board a Bahraini flagged cargo ship, are close to starvation at the Colombo port after the owner abandoned the vessel, the International Transport workers Federation (ITF) said yesterday.
Local ITF Inspector Ranjan Perera told Ceylon Today that the ship was arrested on 7 September since it was in the red of some Rs five million to the local port authorities.
The MV Sanad sailed into the Hambantota port with a cargo of cement and was later towed to Colombo on June 05 after the vessel developed engine failure.
The vessel has since been in anchorage and the day to day living conditions of the crew has worsened, Perera said.
He said the food stocks along with drinking water have exhausted and the fuel reserves could last for only another 10 days.
“When this happens the generators will be forced to shut down, leaving the vessel in darkness at night posing a serious danger to the crew.
We have made several attempts to reach the ship’s owner with no success and now the matter will be addressed in court”, he said.
“On our part we have supplied the crew with a limited stock of dry foods such as noodles, biscuits, drinking water etc, but there are limits.
The ITF office in Colombo is in touch with the parent body in the UK in seeking assistance for the crew but these things take time”, Perera added.
He said that the local agent has also opted to ignore the issue since the vessel owner has failed to pay his dues while the crew has not been paid their wages for the past five months.
The crew includes six Indians, four Jordanians and three from Myanmar.