HASAN MARINE FOUNDATION
Three sea farers are reported to disappeared mysteriously, story of Mumbai Mirror Aug 6. Nothing new, keeps on happening regularly. Elimination of sea farers not willing to join clandestine on board activities are killed and their dead bodies are thrown in high seas. 13 Indian seamen including my son were killed with in twenty day i.e. from Sep 23 to Oct 13, 2005. Our government is encouraging the crime by its in- action. Lobby of sea mafia is too strong and voice our sea fares is too thin. Government, having number of other important issues to tackle, does not have time to look into the matter seriously. Even opposition has no interest to safe guard of Indian sea farers, for obvious reasons.
Being sufferer myself may appreciate pain and grief of parents of 3 seafarer, mentioned in the story of Mumbai Mirror, and other sea farers in distress. Science is yet to develop gadget to quantify pain. It may be judged by one who has gone through it. Me and my family is coping up with this unbearable pain for almost four years.
Ironically, loss of life is not considered loss of Nation in India. It is duty of next of the kins of deceased to run from pillar to post for justice, seldom met. Indian sea farers are mercilessly killed and their dead body is thrown in high seas. Next of kins are deprived off performing last rites of their deceased. Even Human rights commission is helpless to help in the matter.
High seas killing does not come in lime light normally, hog wash enquiry takes place, if it reaches to media. Government is aware that public memory is too short and forget with the passage of time. My son Hasan Zaheer 23 year old Marine engineer, a meritorious student and internationally renowned adventure sports person, an Olympiad, mysteriously disappeared on October 12, 2005, from MSC Carmen a vessel flying dubious FOC (Flag of Convenience), near Mombasa sea port. It was obligatory for port authority to arrest the Ship at Mombasa sea port. However, captain managed to whisk away the ship. Against Our Asst. High Commissioner at Mombasa will. His apprehension was verbal police permission to sail the ship will hamper the investigation and it did. Ship was taken away to Durban and sold immediately. Concocted story of suicide was fabricated. To my observation our government lack will to help seafarers. Energy being wasted in finding excuses to save their skin when case comes to lime light may be channelized to safe guard interest of sea farers.
Manpower agents is a treacherous community. They keep marine aspirants in dark about the credentials of the ship and shrugged off the responsibility when tragedy occurs. in the case of my son as per statement of Mombasa police, recruiting agency “MSC SHIP MANAGEMENT INDIA PVT LTD. (MEDITERRANEAN SHIPPING COMPANY S.A.).” are owner of MSC Carmen. But they claim they have nothing to do with the tragedy. I am writing letter to Shipping Minister giving my suggestions to control the crime. Copy the letter being enclosed which is self explanatory.
Letter written to Ministry of Shipping
Hon’ble Shipping Minister
Ministry of Shipping
Govt of India
Sub: Why not bring the Marine Power Agents within the purview of Indian Penal Code?
I would like to invite your kind attention towards the inability of our government to redress the grievances of the hapless next of kin of Indian sea farers who are being treated as “use and throw disposable material” by the organized sea mafia thriving under the patronage of organizations like UNO!
FOC (Flag of Convenience) is an infamous and dubious system of registering ships on “as- is-where-is-basis”. No physical inspection of the ships is required to be carried out before the registration process. Totally unsuitable ships are registered as it brings substantial income as registration money. A vessel anchored at X port may be registered at the port of Y country! Countries providing such registration, are least bothered in safeguarding the interests of the sea farers who board such ships being totally ignorant of this flaw and several other lacunae so much so that even the Ship owners pay protection money to the country registering their vessels in fake name. For practical purposes FOC system is a kind of license to perpetrate crimes on board.
I am an aggrieved party due to this flagrant lawlessness being carried out since long well within the knowledge and thus connivance of all concerned! My 23 year old son Hasan Zaheer was not simply a meritorious student but an All Round sports person of Modern School Barakhamba Road. He was awarded prestigious best All Sports man trophy of 99, when Gautam Gambhir, the Opener of Indian cricket team was also among the contenders. Hasan was also an Olympiad. This Marine engineer son of mine disappeared mysteriously on October 12, from MSC Carmen, near Mombasa sea Port, was flying FOC. His dead body was not made available to me so that I could perform his last rites. It would be of interest to you Sir to know that Including Hasan, 13 Indian sea farers were killed within a short span of 20 days from September 20, to October 13, 2005. However, only one dead body was recovered and that too only after a lot of hue and cry raised by the media.
Another example of lawless is that the same ship can be registered several times under different names with no official record or track kept of the trade or criminal activity that the ship and its company may have been involved in. MSC Carmen, the deadly vessel my son boarded, was whisked away to Durban from Mombasa, and was registered in a new name at Cyprus, while it remained anchored for two months at Durban seeking time and opportunity to manipulate the statements of crew members and relevant documents to fit into their concocted theory of suicide by Hasan.
Manning agents who recruit the eager young seafarer for shipping companies are the conspirators of crime and go scot free. They must also made accountable and must be debarred from recruiting Indians for ship flying FOC. Ironically UNO approves this system without plugging these loop holes. You would sir appreciate that when our voice falls on the deaf ears of our own government, asking UNO to look into these glaring irregularities is simply beyond one’s means!
UNO is meant for the welfare of its member Nation who are not supposed to offer sacrifices just to appease the UNO. Sir, you will be surprised to know that a minimum of 30 Indian seafarer are being killed every year on board of ships flying FOC and to add insult to the injury the dead bodies are not made available to the bereaved family for performing the last rites. Is it not a gross violation of human rights. Our government remains a mute spectator. D.G. shipping claims his hands are tied.[Ref. “Treachery in high seas” The week January 1,2006.]
UNO may or may not stop the illegal and highly defective and irregular process of registration of ships under FOC. However, our government may stop supply of manpower, to such ships flying FOC. Manpower agents of such ships are equally responsible for crimes and thus should be made accountable and taken to task. Further, provision should be made to file FIR at nearest Police Station. It is duty of Police to investigate the case and approach appropriate authority. Hapless, next of the kins of deceased may not find designated authority to lodge the complaint. I am yet to file FIR for mysterious disappearance of my son. Taking advantage of weakness of our law of land high seas criminals remains scot-free.
In response to news item appeared in H.T. “Government plans tough laws to check workers exploitation, I wrote to Shri Vyaleva Ravi, Hon’ble Minister for overseas affairs, requesting him to bring marine manpower agents too under the ambit of proposed law.
I shall be grateful if you look into these pathetic conditions of Indian sea farers flying Flag of Convenience, and amend the shipping laws to safe guard their interests.
With warm regards