Sajila Saseendran | Khaleej Times, 2011.08.24
DUBAI —The distress call from Samho Jasper, a third ship stranded off the coast of Dubai, has finally yielded an answer from the authorities. The 21 crew members of Jasper were repatriated last week, almost a month after Khaleej Times highlighted their plight.
The Dubai Maritime City Authority (DMCA) and Dubai Port Police with the support of the Dubai Municipality ensured that the crew members were properly compensated for by paying their dues before they were repatriated, while also ensuring payment to local service providers, the DMCA announced on Tuesday.
“Samho Jasper, which has been renamed Golden Lake, is now out of Dubai waters. DMCA successfully coordinated with the Port Police, the Harbor Master’s office, Korean Consulate and the Korean owners and operators to safely manage the offshore situation and ensure a swift resolution of the outstanding issues,” the Authority said in a press statement. Owned by the floundering Korean company Samho Shipping, which was forced to shell out $9 million to pirates for the release of the supertanker Samho Dream last year, Jasper was the third vessel belonging to the same company to have stranded in Dubai waters. Samho Crown and Samho Dream also have been at anchorage in Port Rashid.
Khaleej Times had run a series of reports about the daunting life of the seafarers on board the three vessels who endured non-payment of salaries, shortage of food, water and fuel and disrupted communication network after Samho Shipping applied for bankruptcy. Subsequently, the distressed crew members of Samho Crown and Samho Dream were repatriated and new crew members were appointed to man the vessels after the local authorities intervened to resolve their predicament.
DMCA said Jasper’s crew members who were from Indonesia and Myanmar, had endured several months without pay and at times with limited supply of water and power, relying on DMCA and the Dubai government to intervene on their behalf with healthcare and logistics support. The authority added that the other two stranded tankers are being monitored and remain in a warm layup status.
Noting that Samho Shipping is now emerging from the reorganisation, DMCA said Samho representatives had flown into Dubai last week to discuss with DMCA how best to reactivate the tankers and resolve all outstanding issues.
Acknowledging that the KT reports added pressure on all parties involved to speed up the negotiations, DMCA Advisor for Maritime Strategy James Walsh said the Authority was proud of successfully resolving the deadlock in the Samho crisis in Dubai waters with the help of the other local government departments, the owners, the flag, class and agents of the ships.
“DMCA successfully facilitated negotiations with the parties involved that allowed the maritime authority to work out a solution without having to resort to litigation that could potentially take years to resolve. The successful resolution of this matter underlines the commitment of the Dubai Government to protect the interest of stakeholders in the maritime sector and to support the sustainable growth of the industry,” the DMCA statement said.