The Pakistani government has delivered relief supplies to the six Pakistani sailors stranded on a wrecked ship in the Red Sea. However, the sailors say they owe eight months’ salary so they cannot leave the ship at this time. In addition, leaving the ship could potentially cause legal problems for sailors.
It may be recalled that the sailors have been stranded in a tugboat named Mehr off the coast of Jeddah in Saudi waters for about 17 days. Asad-ur-Rehman, the son of the ship’s Vice-Captain Dildar Ahmed told BBC Urdu that he had contacted his father via satellite phone.
Rehman said a Pakistan ship provided them with one month’s ration and water in addition to first aid.
Moreover, he told his father that another ship would be sent to help them soon. He said now the authorities have come in contact with them. Captain Muhammad Manzoor Saeed told BBC Urdu that after receiving rations and medical aid, they were a little better.
He said the ship that reached them could have also rescued the stranded sailors from there. However, the sailors want the wrecked ship to be taken with them to the shores of Jeddah.
“These are poor and hardworking people. If the ship is not delivered to shore, their salaries may be cut and more problems may arise for them,” the Captain added.
“If they leave the ship and come ashore and the ship is damaged, they could potentially be held liable, which could lead to legal issues for them. It’s the sailors’ responsibility to get the ship to safety.”
How did the sailors spend their time at sea?
Speaking to the BBC Urdu via satellite phone, the ship’s vice-captain said he could no longer turn the ship in any direction and was at the mercy of the sea.
“Wherever the waves of the sea take the ship, the ship turns in that direction. We are afraid that the waves will turn it upside down,” he said.
He said that first one of the ship’s engines broke down, then another, and then the ship’s steering hydraulic system. He said they had to drink seawater. The situation went so bad that we were forced to “boil rice in water mixed with diesel and petrol in the engine of the ship.”
The other five other members of his staff, include Salamuddin, Abdul Ghani, Mohammad Ismail, Muhammad Shafi, and Ali Mohammad. The ship was being taken from Oman to Egypt.
Ahmed said, “Our situation is so bad that when our throat is completely dry, then diesel and petrol are mixed in the engines to draw water or take water from the sea. We boil it and then filter it with a cloth and drink it so that the throat becomes wet.”
“When we are hungry, we boil rice with the same water. We eat some of it, then when the vomiting starts, we give up.”
Here is the satellite call with Dildar Ahmed
Ahmed said that he and his companions are all ill and they are having difficulty in talking.
His communication with the outside world is possible only through his satellite phone and he is always afraid that this phone will not be answered.
“We comfort our families when they call, but we can’t tell them we’re going to die if we don’t get help. And calling on this phone is so expensive.”
Story Courtesy: BBC Urdu
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