Wednesday, 11 June 2008

Please speak out for the families of 25 Indian Sailors who went missing on board "MV Rezzak"

February 18, 2008, a cargo ship “MV Rezzak” left the coast of Turkey towards Russia. 25 Indian sailors recruited by Pelican Marine Pvt. Ltd, the Mumbai-based firm were on board. The ship went missing of the Turkish coast. It has been nearly 4 months since but there is nothing concrete on the fate of the sailors or the ship.

Speculating about some of the reasons why the ship has not been located yet, Neeraj Tyagi - brother of one of the crew members said, "My personal belief is that the ship has been either hijacked or the company itself has kept the ship in hiding to claim insurance money."

Recovery Overseas, a legal firm based on Chincholi Bunder Road in Mumbai’s Malad area, on 3 June, has written to the families of the missing crew, saying that they had died “due to marine hazards in ship MV Rezzak”. To add fuel to the fire, M/s. Pelican Marine, has started contacting them for no-objection certificates, or NOCs, that state the ship has sunk and the crew is dead, so that it can pursue the case with the ship’s insurer, said Uma Mohan, sister of the missing ship’s chief engineer, Mahendra Gopal Krishna Menon. “We are not willing to give such an NOC. How can Pelican Marine decide that the ship has sunk and the crew are dead?” Mohan asked. Mohan alleged Recovery Overseas was acting on behalf of Pelican Marine.

The Indian is at its docile best and merely writing to the Panama authorities to locate the ship. Maybe if some VIPs were on board the ship, a special team would have been sent to locate the ship. Even some foreign agencies would have been hired but these were ordinary men on board, so who cares.

Unfortunately, time is running out for the government as the families of the crew members plan to step up the agitation so that the Indian government does not "forget" the incident. The family of the 25 sailors do require an answer. If the Government is not willing to act, we should make it act. It is our duty as citizens of this free country, to compel the Government to act. On my behalf, I am sending an email to the Hon. President, Prime Minister and the Cabinet Committee of Grievances. I request you also to do so. Kindly ask all your friends to do so. Today it is the families of the 25 sailors of MV Rezzak who have to suffer because of inaction on the part of the Government, tomorrow, it may be us.

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