Indian ship captain locked up at China port

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    North Frontier, The Mighty Himalaya's
    Arun Janardhanan, TNN | May 11, 2012, 04.26AM IST

    CHENNAI: An Indian commander of a Kuwait-flagged merchant ship has been locked up in the radio room of the vessel that is now docked at Shenzhen port in China. Captain Adhimoolam Elango, who is from Puducherry, sent an SOS from MV Hussa Alghanim to a friend, Daniel Joseph, who has passed on the information to the director-general of shipping and the International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF), London.

    Joseph said a Pakistani supervisor at the Chinese dock had locked him up on the charge of drinking alcohol on board the vessel, and was not allowing him to contact anyone, even the local authorities. Consuming liquor on board a vessel is not banned, but the captain is said to have been drinking heavily after the recent death of his wife. His job contract expired on April 21.

    In his email to Joseph, Captain Elango said his life was in danger. "I have been detained inside the radio room for the past six days. Though I am getting food, I am not allowed to interact with anyone. All communication equipment has been taken away from me," he said. "The radio room has been welded with steel bars. I have just $1,000 left that I kept for my return ticket."

    The ship arrived at the Chinese port on April 7, Captain Elango said, and the dock supervisor began harassing him from April 18. On May 3, the supervisor charged him with drinking alcohol on board and locked him up.

    Joseph, who received the email from Captain Elango on Wednesday, has asked the director-general of shipping and ITF to immediately rescue the Elango. The emergency helpline of the directorate-general of shipping reportedly refused to register the complaint as an emergency. Officials of AMOS Ship Management in Mumbai, the agency that reportedly recruited Elango, said they were trying to contact the the vessel's owner. "We hope we can find a solution as soon as possible. We are just an agency and we do not play any role in the operations of the vessel," an AMOS official said.

    Sailors Helpline coordinator Manoj Joy said the director-general of shipping should intervene and secure release of the captain as the detention is illegal. Joseph said Elango had been depressed after his wife's death. "He was mostly involved in coastal shipping. This was his first job on board a merchant vessel on the high seas," he said. According to sources in shipping industry, an ITF inspector in Hong Kong, Yu Sak Ming, had tried to contact Captain Elango on Thursday. "ITF sources said they are still waiting for a reply from officers of the vessel as the captain could not be reached on the phone," said a source.

    Indian ship captain locked up at China port - The Times of India

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