19 Vietnamese sailors stuck in UAE call for help

TN News

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Nineteen sailors on a ship belonging to Vinashinlines, a subsidiary of the Vietnam National Shipping Lines (Vinalines), have lodged complaints with Vietnamese authorities saying they have been abandoned in the United Arab Emirates for the last two months.

Online newspaper Vietnamnet reported the Diamond Way has been stuck since August at Jebel Ali - a deep port located in Jebel Ali Dubai, UAE, with the sailors receiving no pay, or food or drink supplies.

The 19 sailors have informed the Ministry of Transport, the Vietnam Maritime Administration, Vinalines and Vinashinlines, but they have not received any response yet, the report said.

They have run out of food and fresh water and there is no electricity and fuel on the ship. They have been surviving by using firewood for cooking and eating fish they catch at the port with some rice.

Mai Van Khang, an acting general director of Vinalines, told Vietnamnet the company had been ordered by the Ministry of Transport to handle the case.

Deputy transport minister Nguyen Van Cong said the ministry had asked Vinalines to provide food and money to the sailors first.

He said Vinalines itself is struggling with financial difficulties.

­­­In mid July, Diamond Way was detained at an Indian port after it failed to pay fuel bills.

The ship belongs to a 16-strong fleet managed by Vinashinlines.

The state-owned Vinalines has been in trouble after state inspectors found evidence of several irregularities and fraud by company officials between 2007 and 2010, including the purchase and inefficient use of old ships.

The company incurred losses of more than VND2.6 trillion (US24.7 million) last year and VND1.2 trillion in 2010, but falsely reported profits.

A government report in early June said the corporation was in a "very difficult" financial situation with debts of more than VND43 trillion (more than $2 billion).

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