Abandoned Crew Members Jump Vessel in Search of Help Off Chennai

By Accidents

The stranded crew members of an arrested bulk carrier off the coast of Chennai, India were forced to leave the vessel Tuesday fearing that the bulk carrier would sink, but only to be told that they could face charges for entering the country without permission.
The captain of the Korean-registered OSM Arena ordered his crew members to leave the vessel on a fishing ship and to look for help after the bulk carrier started to take on water. Soon after, the master and chief engineer descended on a Madras High Court and told a judge that his crew members had been forsaken without power or provisions, and that their ship was taking on water and in danger of capsizing.
The Captain of the bulk carrier stated that he had joined the vessel 2 months ago with his crew, but the bulk carrier has been without fuel and power since 3rd of April, 2013. “The previous owner supplied provisions and stores, but we were running out of the stocks. My crew was starving and crying. For days, we managed with dry food. The vessel is no longer stable as water has entered one of the cargo holds and the engine room. Since the ship may capsize any moment, I gave a call to all the 14 crew members to leave the vessel,” the captain told reports.
Unfortunately for the vessel's captain and his crew members, they were told that coming to shore without clearance was against the law and cases would be filed against them. The court later ordered 3 of the crew members to return to the ship.
The accident is the latest involving a dead ship and abandoned crew members off the coast of Chennai. In November 2012, six other crew members from the grounded MT Pratibha Cauvery were killed while trying to reach shore after leaving their vessel during a storm. The accident raised concerns over the number of dead ships that have found a safe haven in Indian ports. There were 2 shipping executives later arrested and charged in connection to deaths of seafarers.