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Bangladeshi crew stranded in Kolkata for five weeks need help

Bangladeshi crew stranded in Kolkata for five weeks need help
April 30, 2022

One of the crew says they have been confined to Marine Club Hotel and are not allowed to go out

Fifteen crew members of a ship have remained stranded in Kolkata for five weeks as their vessel capsized at a port while loading goods.

The owners of the ship had assured to bring the crew back but it did not happen yet.

The crew said that the governments of Bangladesh and India also had not taken any step.

On March 24, the Bangladesh-flagged container vessel “MV Marine Trust-1” sank at Netaji Subhash Chandra Dock in Kolkata. It was destined for Chittagong Port after the completion of the loading of containers.

The crew members, including Mizanur Rahman of Kushtia, narrowly escaped the accident. Since then, they have been confined to Marine Club Hotel (C-Man Hostel) adjacent to the port in Kolkata.

On Wednesday night, a three-minute video message was uploaded on social media by the stranded crew pleading for help.

In the video message, the crew expressed their misery and sought immediate intervention of the president, the prime minister and other authorities concerned to bring them back to Bangladesh.

Neither the Bangladesh government nor the Indian authorities were taking any initiative for their return, he alleged.

The hostel authorities also threatened to stop food supplies at any time, said Faisal. "We are in danger. Anything can happen at any time. We are helpless."

UNB contacted one of the stranded crew, Kushtia's Mizanur Rahman, through WhatsApp on Friday afternoon.

Mizanur said that the 15 crew members were staying in seven rooms in the hotel and had not been allowed to go out. “We have run out of money.”

Besides, the agent of PNN Shipping has confiscated their passports. Their belongings, including their education certificates, are in the capsized ship.

He further said the owners of the ship MV Marine Trust-01 contacted them on Thursday following the video message and assured them to bring them back to the country soon.

At the same time, the Bangladesh High Commission in Kolkata also contacted them over the phone, assuring them to send them back to the country very soon.

Mizanur also mentioned that the High Commission officials wanted to hold a meeting with them in a day or two. They also sent them an email in this regard.

He said that all the crew members wanted to celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr with their families.
Probe body formed

An investigation committee comprising three members has been formed by the Department of Shipping, Bangladesh regarding the sinking of the vessel.

The committee will visit the place of the incident to investigate the matter, according to a letter written to the Department of Shipping, India on Thursday.

The vessel was operated under Coastal Shipping Agreement.

The preliminary inquiry revealed that the accident had taken place due to unplanned cargo loading by the ship’s staff, according to Syama Prasad Mookerjee Port, Kolkata.

The incident took place on March 24, and since then, the owners had not bothered to visit the port to secure the vessel.

The salvage operation was handed over to a salvor by the ship owners. Now the salvor has discontinued the operation and the owners had declared the vessel abandoned in sunken condition.

Fahim Faisal, the chief engineer of the ship, said in the video that the ship had left Chittagong Port on March 20 and they reached Kolkata on March 23.