LONDON: Around two dozen Pakistani crew members of ship named Ariana trapped in the War Zone Yemen have reached home after three weeks of life-and-death situation due to non-professionalism and critical negligence by the ship owner Saint James Shipping.
Geo News, in a report last week, highlighted how the lives of 86 Pakistani seafarers were in danger on four Saint James Shipping owned vessels over the owner’s evasion to fulfill financial and legal obligations including crew wages, bunker and provisions etc. Having exhausted all legal means, the ship managers GRSM also informed Pakistan government the suffering and safety of these poor seafarers.
A spokesman of Saint James Shipping Ltd, speaking on behalf of CEO Sam Tariverdi, said in a statement that difficulties were caused due to a “tug-of-war between two competing masters” and also because the “owners lost confidence in the previous crew after a series of incidents and required to change them. The crew have now been changed and fully paid off and repatriated to Pakistan safely”.
The Saint James Shipping Ltd spokesman confirmed that the other vessels remain currently detained in Indian ports. “We are hopeful these problems will be resolved soon and it remains the intention of Saint James and its principals that all seafarers shall receive all payments due to them, the difficulties and delays suffered by the seafarers are much regretted,” said the spokesperson.
Saint James Shipping is owned by Sam Tariverdi who is the son of Dr Hassan Tari Verdi Farman and is said to have Royal Iranian lineage.
The crisis for the Pakistani crew members started around early January after the owner seized funding to the ship management company even for mandatory expenses and started diverting income from the ships to his personal accounts.
Consequently the crises turned from bad to worse with every passing day. Currently, two vessels Aeon and Sol are arrested in India since 6th June 2022 by vendors due to long overdue payments of owners. Aeon is arrested in Mumbai and Sol in Hazira.
Another ship of the same company Lua is in Shipyard Las Calderas, Santo Domingo, for last five months and was in Damen Shipyard in Curacao for four months but due to unavailability of funds from the owner, she was asked to leave Curacao Shipyard without carrying out any docking/repair job, shared the source.
A fifth vessel Victor 1 is arrested by the crew due to unpaid wages and also by the vendor for unpaid long outstanding invoices by the owner Saint James. The total crew on this ship are 17 including thirteen Indonesian and four Pakistanis.
The crew members said they were in trauma and required counselling due to the ordeal they have gone through. They said they were forced at gun point to hand over the ship and were repatriated in War Zone endangering their lives.
The crew members, who have reached Pakistan, held Saint James Shipping responsible for their sufferings. They opined that those responsible for putting their lives at risk should be prosecuted for sending ship in War Zone for their personal financial gains and putting lives at risk while even operating the ship without any insurance cover.
The seafarers who are currently stranded have appealed to the international maritime organizations and Pakistani authorities to take notice of their plight and help them secure their overdue wages and provide them with safety and rescue.