A distressing issue that has been observed during the last few years, is the existence of Unlicensed Indian agents who have sent over 1,000 seafarers to Iran. Seafarers who have illegally gone to Iran are neither paid proper salaries nor given decent and enough food to eat. Capt Sanjay Prashar, Director, International Maritime Federation has been instrumental to bring the plight of these seafarers to light. This issue came to the attention of the world when Seaman Ranjit Singh went missing from dead Iranian Ship at Bandar Bushehar and the death of Palash Balsetwar, a deck cadet working for the ill-fated ship MV Mashhour who lost his life as the ship sank late on the night of March 15, 2016 near Iran. These incidents have served as wake-up call for the industry.
Capt. Sanjay has updated us that the body of late Seaman Ranjit Singh will arrive in Delhi this week. We quote Capt. Prashar’s message sent to us:
Body of Late Seaman Ranjit Singh, who was only 22 years old, will arrive in Delhi this week and last rites will be held in Cremation ground. Only son to his Parents from Village in Hoshiarpur, Ranjit had big dreams to serve in Merchant Navy.
Cheated by Non RPSL actors, Ranjit was sent to Dead Ship in Iran in the year 2015. Non RPSL agent took money (around 2.5 Lakh) and one day asked him to rush to Mumbai International Airport. Contract letter for employment was signed at the airport was snatched by the agent and not given to Ranjit. Ranjit departed without Contract letter and cleared Immigration desk at Mumbai airport because he had OKTB through well designed bigger cheating agent of Iran called HARDANI.
Ranjit was put in a room in Iran by agents HARDANI who has Indian Partner in Iran. After a month of struggle for food , Ranjit was given Dead ship where his job was to remove water which used to enter breached hull of ship at Anchorage. No salary for 9 months, begging food from other ships, writing his dairy daily and seeking solace in divinity kept him going for 9 months. He pleaded agent Hardani to change his ship. But he never told his misfortune to parents thinking that 24 months seatime on Belieze Seaman Book will fetch him Indian Seaman book.
On 14 February 2016, he was declared missing from Ship. Body beyond recognition was found on Sea shore after few days. Self and Ranjit's parents went to meet Smt Sushma Swaraj Ji. She assured us action. When Hon External Affairs Minister went to Iran on 2016, she took up the case of 1500 Indian Seafarers who are illegally employed under duress and inhuman condition on small boats or dead ships of Iran.
A delegation was sent to Iran in June 2016 by Government of India and self was part of that delegation alongwith officials from Ministry of Shipping and Ministry of External Affairs. We met all stakeholders including Indian Seafarers. It's horrible situation in Iran for Indian Seafarers. Some of them are staying on Iran boats for more than 2 years and still waiting for the 1st month salary to be paid.
We saw dead body of Late Seaman Ranjit Singh in Hospital. Iranians shamelessly using slavery at Sea of Indian Seafarers to justify after effect of sanctions.
Expectations can't be made from Indian Embassy in Tehran as they have no idea how to handle this even after a year.
No compensation for loss of life is ever paid ion these Iranian ships as there's no Insurance.
Our best efforts got us more than 100 Seafarers back from Iran but DNA test of Late Ranjit Singh took very long.
I went to Hoshiarpur to meet Ranjit's parents and his sisters at their home. We all struggled with words. Moist eyes had more to say.
Seaman Ranjit's body will finally be cremated in one of the Delhi's crematorium this week. My Delhi Seafarers may join for the last Yatra of Ranjit. You may message me for knowing firm date and time on 9930467030 for details.
I promise to change the Indian system so that no Ranjit embraces the unfortunate journey to Iran, Dubai, Malaysia etc through death selling agents of India. We have submitted a paper to Government if India and we are expecting sweeping Ganges soon. I need your support.
Let all our Seafarers brothers, Sisters and their families know this.
RIP : Late Seafarer Ranjit
Our battle starts now. Please forward this message to all Seafarers to forewarn other youngsters who risk everything to go on Iranian ships or in Malaysia.
Capt Sanjay Prashar
The Shipping Tribune pledges to spread awareness among all the seafarers and those aspiring to join merchant navy to be careful of unscrupulous elements in the society.
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