The master and crew onboard the Tomini Destiny, at the centre of a week-long coronavirus-linked standoff in Bangladesh waters, have negotiated the details for the safe offload of the vessel’s cargo.
With the Marshall Islands registry acting as mediator, the crew and the ship’s owner, Tomini from the United Arab Emirates (UAE), have come up with a solution to offload the cargo without many local stevedores boarding the ship as is customary for bulk carriers entering Chittagong port.
Last week, the ship’s Indian captain took the decision to invoke Master’s Authority under the International Safety Management Code and applicable Safety Management System, refusing to offload his cargo at Chittagong port for fear that his ship could be infected with the coronavirus via the 60-odd local stevedores who would normally board the vessel in order to offload cargoes. The impasse between the master and his employers in the UAE even saw him erect razor wire around the vessel to ensure no one could board the bulk carrier.
The master has now prepared a plan to offload the cargo and the ship ought to be able to leave the Bay of Bengal soon.
The charity Human Rights at Sea (HRAS) has been following the case closely.
“The case highlights a number of wider issues which may well shape future conduct of business in light of the emerging and the indisputable threat to life of the Covid-19 virus,” the charity stated in a release on Sunday.