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Successful Repatriation of Indian Seafarers from Indonesia

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Indian Seafarers Held for 9 Months Return Home

New Delhi, India: In a heartening turn of events, three Indian seafarers who were held in Indonesia for nine months have been successfully repatriated, announced the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Thursday. These seafarers, namely Captain Sanjeev Kumar, Chief Engineer Sanjay Kumar Pandey, and Chief Officer Siyab Salam, were part of the crew aboard the MT Aashi, a Liberian flagged tanker that ran aground off the coast of Indonesia in February 2023.

Unlawful Detention and Negotiations

Indonesian authorities had placed the seafarers under house arrest, allegedly as leverage to compel the ship’s owner to cover the costs of removing the wrecked vessel. However, the MEA emphasized that these seafarers were never charged with any crimes, deeming their detention “unlawful.”

The MEA credited the successful repatriation to “close coordination” between the Indian embassy in Jakarta and Indonesian authorities. The Indian embassy had been diligently working towards securing the seafarers’ release since their detention in February.

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Indian and Indonesian Governments Support

It took around nine months to Indian government to do follow and providing legal assistance to the seafarers and their families. The Indonesian government finally agreed and had released the seafarers on humanitarian grounds.

Reunion and Gratitude

On November 9, 2023, the seafarers returned to India and were joyously reunited with their families. The Indian government had welcomed the act of Indonesian government and expressed its gratitude for cooperation.

Seafarers’ Rights Commitments

This repatriation is said to be a big success to the Indian government’s commitment for safeguarding the rights of Indian seafarers. But still, there are many exploitation happenings on the Seafarers, which are left unheard. The  MEA has affirmed to continue to collaborate with Indonesian authorities. The MEA has assured that all Indian seafarers will be treated fairly and that their rights will be upheld.

Maritime Safety Commitments

The incident of MT Aashi is a reminder of the maritime safety. The vessel had  grounded to adverse weather conditions, this lead to  the risking of seafarers. This incident has risen the need for all stakeholders in the maritime industry to come together, only then  the maritime safety will be ensured .

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