Middle EastOperations

Seafarers stranded in Bahrain hope to go home soon

London: A crew of 16 seafarers could be about to go home after being stranded onboard an impounded oil tanker in Bahrain for over five months.

The vessel was detained after its unknown Singapore-based management company racked up $300,000 in debt, reports say.

AIS data shows that the vessel in question looks likely to be the Mongolian-flagged MR tanker Surya Kuber (47,200 dwt, built 1992), which is Indian-owned and has been moored in Bahrain since at least February, according to its list of recent port calls.

The company owes Bahrain’s Asry shipyard and Kanoo Shipping more than $220,000, and around $118,000 to its crew members, who say they have not been paid since October.

In February, Asry took legal action against the shipping company and its Indian owner and a Bahrain court ordered the vessel be detained until the debts have been repaid.

The unknown Indian shipowner has agreed in principle to pay the crew members’ wages within three days, meaning the crew could soon be able to leave the ship.

The crew, which includes 14 Indian nationals and two from Myanmar, were allowed ashore in Bahrain yesterday to meet officials from the Bahrain International Seafarers’ Society and the Indian Embassy.

Asry has been providing the crew with food and supplies, and unionists helped the crew gain shore passes to come ashore to meet with officials.

The seafarers told Gulf News that there is no air conditioning onboard the vessel, leaving the crew unable to sleep at night. Another seafarer was reportedly unable to attend his own wedding in February.


Holly Birkett

Holly is Splash's Online Editor and correspondent for the UK and Mediterranean. She has been a maritime journalist since 2010, and has written for and edited several trade publications. She is currently studying for membership of the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers. In 2013, Holly won the Seahorse Club's Social Media Journalist of the Year award. She is currently based in London.
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