MARITIME NEWS | Samho shame off Dubai

Sailors on board a third stranded ship anchored off Port Rashid are running out of rations and medicines.

Sources on Sunday said the condition of the crew on the Samho Jasper was fast deteriorating. Food and fuel supply on the ship can last only a week. Medicines have run out, while communication with the outside world has been cut.

Khaleej Times received a call via satellite phone from the ship seeking urgent help.

The man did not give his name before the line went dead. Several efforts to contact him were in vain. The condition of some of the 21 men on the Panamanian-flagged tanker was ‘very appalling’, said Captain Atta-ur-Rahman, of the distressed tanker’s sister ship, the Samho Crown.  Samho Crown was rescued last month, thanks to the efforts of this newspaper, which highlighted the plight of its crew. Sailors of a second ship, the Samho Dream, are also out of troubled waters.

Atta-ur-Rahman said some crew members of the Jasper are ‘mentally disturbed’ as they had not been not paid their salaries for six months. ‘‘Most of the crew members have completed their contracts and just want to go home,’’ he said.

Telephone and internet connections are down, and fuel for refrigeration to make their limited stocks of food last, is being burnt up fast.

South Korean Consul-General Oh Yong-Jin, said he was aware of the harsh summer conditions the sailors had to deal with and added that he was in touch with the relevant authorities here in the UAE and also at Samho Shipping.

‘‘We are holding a meeting with all stakeholders today and I hope the issue will be resolved within the week. It is a matter of releasing funds from the bank for which we need court approval.’’

The Samho Jasper’s crew of 21 comprises eight Myanmarese, seven South Koreans and six Indonesians.

All three ships are anchored off Port Rashid in Dubai.

The ships are owned by the floundering Samho Shipping, which was forced to shell out $9 million to pirates for the release of the Samho Crown last year. Commercial daily rates for Very Large Crude Carrier’s (VLCC) tumbled to record lows, adding to the company’s misfortunes. Moody’s Investors Service said the outlook for the global shipping industry over the next 12 to 18 months is “negative” because of overcapacity.

‘‘Dry bulk may weaken the most as new supply sends freight rates lower,’’ it said in a report last week.

Court proceedings in South Korea have left the crew and their ships in a desperate situation for months.

The Dubai Maritime City Authority had coordinated with the Dubai Police to rescue and repatriate sailors of the Samho Dream and the Samho Crown following reports in Khaleej Times.

A spokesman from International Tanker Mangement (ITM), which manages the Crown, told Khaleej Times last week that the six remaining sailors of the vessel would receive their pending salaries before being repatriated to their home countries by July 20.

allan@khaleejtimes.com

Source: http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticle08.asp?xfile=data/theuae/2011/July/theuae_July434.xml&section=theuae

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