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MUI initiates stranded seafarers’ project

The Maritime Union of India (MUI), which represents merchant navy officers, has initiated a ‘Service to Stranded Seafarers’ project, aimed at collating database of the Indian seafarers who are currently languishing in jails abroad.

A delegation to meet Union Ministers to facilitate legal help to seafarers

A delegation is also expected to meet the Union Minister for Shipping as well as the Minister of External Affairs to seek the government’s urgent intervention in facilitating legal help to such seafarers, the MUI said on Monday.

MUI is affiliated to London-based International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF), which is a democratic, affiliate-led federation recognised as the world’s leading transport authority that connects nearly 700 affiliated trade unions from 150 countries across the globe.

Around 500 Indian seafarers are lodged in foreign jails

MUI General Secretary Amar Singh Thakur said, “It is estimated that around 500 Indian seafarers are lodged in foreign jails currently due to criminal charges, lack of proper documentation, detention of vessels, and abandonment of ships, among others.”

Only those who are able to contact their relatives in India manage to get legal support and assistance through MUI, he said.

“A delegation of MUI office bearers headed by me will soon meet the Union Shipping Minister of India and the Minister of External Affairs of India to seek the Government of India’s urgent intervention in facilitating legal help to Indian seafarers locked in foreign jails at present due to numerous reasons,” said Thakur

He added that unfortunately, there is no updated data of the Indian seafarers who are imprisoned in jails of Indonesia, Iran, Iraq and many other countries. “Many such prisoners in foreign jails continue to serve their sentences due to lack of appropriate legal support offered to them.”

Under the ‘Service to Stranded Seafarers’ project, MUI recently facilitated temporary passports to two Indian seafarers through cooperation of ITF and Embassy of Tehran in India.

Both these Indian seafarers who got stranded in 2019 aboard ‘5 Seas Princess’ cargo ship at Bandar Abbas Port of Iran are expected to reach India next week finally, the Union said.

MUI to consult eminent lawyers across the globe for the release  of such Indian seafarers

MUI said it has planned to consult a battery of eminent lawyers across the globe in association with the Indian Shipping Ministry, Indian embassies, ITF and various maritime unions across the globe to seek an early release of such Indian seafarers, it said.
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