Suez canal: 25 Indian crew of refloated vessel in ‘good health, will sail to Europe if ship fit’ | India News


All 25 Indian crew members on board the 2 lakh-tonne cargo vessel Ever Given, which ran aground at the Suez Canal on March 23 and was successfully refloated by the canal authority with the help of foreign experts on Monday, are in “good health” and won’t be replaced for now, and “will sail to Rotterdam (Europe’s largest seaport) if the ship is found fit on full inspection” at Egypt’s Great Bitter Lake, says an official.
German company Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement (BSM), which manages the Panama-registered Japanese shipping company Shoei Kisen Kaisha-owned 400-metre-long cargo vessel, said, “They (crew) are safe and in good health… Their hard work and tireless professionalism are greatly appreciated.”
Directorate general of shipping Amitabh Kumar told TOI, “As there is no harm to the Indian crew, there is no reason for us to intervene right now. As per the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), any vessel that has met with an accident has to be investigated as per its convention. This is called ‘casualty investigation’. The same will be conducted on this vessel. It will be a fact-finding inquiry. The report is normally submitted by the flag state. If we receive any complaint from the company that the inquiry is not impartial, then of course we will intervene. But so far we have not received any such complaint.”
Talking to TOI, Abhijeet Sangle, working president of the All India Seafarers and General Workers Union, said the “BSM, which has its branch in Andheri (Mumbai), informed us that of the 25 crew members, three are from Mumbai, some are from Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and some from north India. However, the company did not disclose the names of the captain or other crew for security reasons.” He said, “The company told us that a full inspection of the ship, including its hull and engine, and its cargo is currently on. If the ship is found fit, then the vessel with the same crew will move to its next destination to Rotterdam without any further delay.”
The company, with help from the canal authority, will then scan the digital video recorder (DVR) of the ship passage through the Suez canal and check what led to the accident that day, he said. “They will find out who’s at fault; the ship captain or the canal pilot, who helped steer the big vessel through the narrow canal. As per rules, if a captain is held liable, he or she, the duty officer in charge and the respective able seamen will be signed off and may not be enrolled again. But it’s too early to say anything,” the union president said.
With the Suez Canal open, over 422 vessels stranded on both sides of the 193-km strategic passage till Tuesday will now be cleared in the next few days.
The shipping industry is crucial to the existence of the global economy as about 90% of the world’s food, fuel, raw materials and manufactured goods are delivered by sea. India contributes a significant chunk of sea-farers to the shipping industry as the country is recognised globally as a reliable source of marine manpower. The DG (shipping) told TOI, “On an average, India sends around 2.4 lakh sea-farers every year. Of them, 2.1 lakh sea-farers work on foreign ships and 30,000 on Indian ships.”



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