Four months, yet relief far away for the three Indians in Egypt

By Anupama Vimal

Four months have elapsed and yet no sign of relief for the three Indians who are part of the 31 crew members of vessel Sea Shark that has been detained by Egypt in Barnis bay. Having no knowledge regarding the reason behind the detention, the crew members are quite desperate to meet their family members back home. They have urged to resolve the issue with the Egyptian Government at the earliest and make it possible for them to meet their family at the earliest.

The worst thing is that Egypt never thought of even informing the various countries about the detention of their citizens, which is mandatory as per the Vienna Convention on Consular relations. If a country detains or arrests or takes into custody a citizen of another country, the former is to inform about the details to the country that the citizen belongs. And the consular officers have all right to visit the persons under detention as per the Vienna Convention.

Till now, the Ministry of External Affairs is known to have not received any communication from Egypt. The sources said that attempts are on to get in touch with the authorities in that country and to find a solution to the issue. Meanwhile, detained crew member Charanya KN Venugopal’s uncle Jagannathan told kadapuram.com that they have also not received any communication from the Ministry if they had been successful in contacting the Egyptian officials.

He said that he had contacted the Indian counsellor in Egypt and got information that he had given a note to the Egyptian government. “There is no information than this regarding any attempts to release them,” he said and alleged that they had got only little support from the Ministry of External Affairs. It was after prolonged communication with the external Affairs Ministry and even the external Affairs Minister that the government has now started to take some initiative in this regard.

While Charanya is from Karnataka, another detained Indian is from Tamil Nadu and the other from North India.

Asked if Charanya contacted the family regularly, he said that his nephew contacted them once or twice in three weeks. “The Egyptian Naval force is also in the ship and as such they have imposed some restrictions. The Internet is also limited and so he only contacts when he is allowed,” Jagannathan said.

On the families of the other two Indians who are also detained along with Charanya, he said that he was in contact with them also. “The families of all the three are a bit down and hope that they would come home at the earliest,’ he said.

Apart from the three Indians, the other crew include citizens from Ukraine, Russia, Sri Lanka, Azerbaijan, and Philippines. In a letter to the embassy of Ukraine, India, Azerbaijan, Sri Lanka, Philippines and Russia, the captain of the ship Nesterenko Vitakliy has sought help to return to their families. “We request your urgent assistance in resolving this matter at the earliest. We along with our families are all going through unimaginable stress, fear for our lives, our safety and well being,” the letter said.

Stating that there was no valid reason for their detention, the captain and other crew said that the Egyptian Navy had denied them permission to leave the ship, which has caused then physical, psychological stress. In the letter, they also mention that they have not committed any violation of the laws for the Egyptian government to detain them.

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