INDIA: The Indian sailors of the Norwegian-flagged crude oil carrier MT Heroic Idun were apprehended in the waters of Equatorial Guinea in August and face uncertain futures.
The captain of the ill-fated ship appealed to the Indian Government, asking for assistance in releasing his sailors in a video of the incident. He mentioned that they are not being provided food or water in the detention centre.
In the video, the captain of the ship, called “Heroic Idun,” identifies himself as Tanuj Mehta. He said that the crew members of the ship were sent to the Malabo detention facility. He expressed uncertainty regarding his future and sailors, adding that they were not allowed outside.
While asking for help from the Indian Government, Captain Mehta adds that the condition has worsened aboard his ship. He asserts that anything could happen to the crew.
As per reports, sixteen Indian sailors will soon be handed over to the Nigerian government months after being in detention for nearly three months in Equatorial Guinea.
Following the sailors’ allegations of unlawful detention and coercion, the Indian Ministry of External Affairs is also working to rescue crew members. On the other hand, Nigeria has asserted that it will prosecute the sailors.
To free the MT Heroic Idun crew members, the Equatorial Guinea embassy and the High Commission in Nigeria are working closely with authorities in both countries. The mission in Equatorial Guinea tweeted that all crew members were safe and that the transfer of sailors from the Detention Center to the ship was ongoing.
The Indian sailors were part of a 26-member crew of the ship. The ship, crew members, and captain were illegally detained in Equatorial Guinea nearly three months ago. Out of the crew of 26, 16 sailors are Indians. The Equatorial Guinea Navy arrested the oil carrier at the instance of their Nigerian counterparts on August 12.
Another crew member onboard the detained ship, Sanu Jose, the tanker’s chief officer, also managed to have a video call with his wife, Metilda, on Tuesday. He showed the appalling living conditions of the sailors.
The sailors were locked up in a room without food and under heavy security. The crew consumed water from the washbasin.
According to Metilda, her husband is in an awful condition and has complained of chest pain over the past few days.