A Vietnamese ship has been stranded off the coast of India for nearly six months, putting 18 sailors onboard at risk, The Times of India reported Tuesday.
The news source quoted Captain Maung Maung Iwin of the MV Bien Nam ship as saying that the vessel is currently about three miles away from the shore and has no power, while the main engine has been completely damaged.
Iwin said over phone that the sailors have starved for days and run out of drinking water for more than ten days.
According to the news source, Iwin has continuously sent out cries for help to the Sailors Helpline at the Chennai port.
However, so far the port authorities have not been able to do anything due to the lack of legal provisions, although they are willing to help, Sailors Helpline coordinator Manoj Joy said.
The coordinator stressed that the vessel, without functional engines, is also threatening to cause accidents in the outer seas.
In the meantime, K Sreekumar, ITF inspector and assistant secretary of Madras Port Trust Employees' Union, said the ship's owner is bankrupt.
Over the past months, its food and other provisions have been supplied by agents in Chennai City under their agreement with the owner, but the supply stopped last week when the latter stopped paying the former, Sreekumar said.
"We are trying to get them food as soon as possible," said Sreekumar, who recently supplied Rs. 35,000 (US$769.15) worth of food items to the ship with the help of the Seafarers' Club and the Chennai Port Trust.
Phan Thanh Thuy, consular officer at the Vietnamese Embassy in New Delhi, meanwhile, told the newspaper that they were trying to contact the ship's owner to settle the case.