A representative of the company which owns a Vietnamese ship reported to be stranded off the coast of southern India for nearly six months with 18 sailors on board on Wednesday rejected the reports carried in the Indian media.
Vu Quang, deputy director of Bien Nam Ship Trade Co., Ltd., said the ship's Malaysian captain Maung Maung Iwin had not given correct information to related agencies and media in India.
On Tuesday The Times of India quoted Iwin as saying that 18 sailors onboard have starved for days and run out of drinking water for more than ten days.
He said that the vessel, which is currently about three miles away from the shore, has no power, while the main engine has been completely damaged.
However, in an interview with Thanh Nien, Quang said that the ship, which was carrying the captain and 16 crew members, including 10 Vietnamese, had stopped at the Chennai port on its way to the Tuticorin port to carry cereals.
Iwin stopped the ship to wait for the supply of materials, and on February 4 its freezer broke down, causing all the fresh food onboard to rot.
Because the incident took place during the Lunar New Year holiday in Vietnam and because the seas were rough, the company could not supply fresh food to the ship until two days later, Quang said.
Since February 10, the company has supplied food to the ship twice and this can sustain the crew for more than a month, he added.
Quang also said that even if they had no fresh food, the ship still had dry foods in store.
Wrong information provided by the captain has defamed the company, he said, adding that they didn't know about the news reports until the company's agent in India sent several copies of local newspapers to them.
After the incident the company had tried to contact Iwin but he didn't pick up the phone, he said.
"Due to the lack of cooperation from him, the company can't help, but will replace him with another captain," Quang said.
He said the company will send necessary materials and technicians to India this Sunday to repair the vessel and have it resume operations by February 28.
At the moment, all the crew members have no health problems, he said.
Meanwhile, the Tuoi Tre newspaper has quoted Nguyen Thanh Tan, the Vietnamese ambassador in India, as saying that if the company is unable to handle the case, he would send people to Chennai to do what is necessary.