Repatriation of 15 Bangladeshi sailors detained in Kolkata still uncertain
Dhaka / Kolkata, May 23: Uncertainty over the return of 15 Bangladeshi sailors of the 'MV Marine Trust-01' ship that met with accident at Kolkata port has not yet been resolved. They have been detained there for about two months.
Officials of the concerned departments, including the Bangladesh Shipping Department, could not provide any definite information about the return of the sailors to the country. However, some people say that the reason for the delay is the lack of agreement on compensation and the sailors wanting to return to the country together.
On the evening of April 29, the owner of the ship had promised to bring back the stranded sailors within 7-8 days. After that three more weeks have passed. No decision has been made yet. Letters have been sent to Kolkata Port Authority, DG Shipping of India, Bangladesh High Commission in India, Indian High Commission in Bangladesh, Ministry of External Affairs and Ministry of Shipping to repatriate the sailors.
Container ships are operating between the two countries through the Coastal Shipping Agreement under the existing Protocol on Inland Water Transit and Trade (PIWTT) between Bangladesh and India.
It is learned that on March 20, 15 sailors left Chittagong port for Kolkata with the ship 'MV Marine Trust-01'. There they arrived on March 23. At 9 am on March 24, the ship capsized and overturned after unloading cargo containers at Lot No. 5 of Kolkata Shyamaprasad Mukherjee Port. At that moment, the sailors quickly got off the ship. The ship had 120 containers of 20 feet and 45 containers of 40 feet. The load containers weighed 3,089 metric tonnes. The ship was scheduled to reach Chittagong port from Kolkata on March 25.
On the afternoon of April 28, the 15 sailors uploaded a three-and-a-half minute video message on social media. In a video message, they expressed their desire to return to Bangladesh.
Describing the accident, the ship's chief engineer Fahim Faisal said the Kolkata Port Authority had kept them at the Marine Club Hotel (Seaman Hostel). Their passports have also been seized there. They have been under siege for over a month.