31-year-old Yaseen Shah is a seafarer from Bhatkal working on a cargo ship in Iran. However, for the last 19 months, he has been stranded at the docking area of Iran port in Chabahar. The pandemic and the dispute among the ship owners have forced Yaseen to face this plight.
The seafarer reached Iran in January 2020 and started work as a seafarer on board a cargo ship. The ship was anchored in Iran port. Even though the pandemic improved and other ships resumed movement, Yaseen’s ship never left the anchor.
For the last six months, Yaseen hasn’t been in contact with either the ship owners or the agency through which he earned the job.
With no salary and no VISA in hand, Yaseen has left no stones unturned to get his due. Speaking to reporters, he explained that he took a loan amount of nearly six lakhs for his degree and to reach Iran.
He also gave money to the agency that lured him and offered a job as a seafarer. In return, he was issued a payment of $ 200 per month.
But on reaching Iran, the agreement of the job was altered without notice by the Iranian consulting agency. His agreement letter stated that his salary would be $ 150 per month.
Yaseen contended that many Indians who arrive in Iran seeking jobs face a similar situation. The agents dupe them as the agreement is in the Parisian language, which Indian seafarers have little or no understanding.
However, he explained that as he needed money, he took up the job. And even after a long year, he still hasn’t received any pay.
Yaseen stated that “In the last six months I didn’t receive any ration for due assistance from either the ship owners or the agency that offered me the job. So I am taking food from other ships and seafarers that dock into the port.”
He further stated,’ the consulting agency gave me an air ticket to travel back to India. It was six months back. However, they refused to pay me my due wages for a year. So I decided that I will stay back and fight back like the other Indian boys who are being duped similarly.’ Yaseen spoke of a fellow seafarer from Tamil Nadu who grabbed the offered air ticket and travelled back home to India without bothering to fight for the unpaid wages.
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The seafarer says that he has contacted the Indian consulate and other organizations and explained the seafarers’ plight to them.
Organizations from India and several other countries came forward to extend their help to Yaseen. Shirali Shaikh Muzaffer, the founder president of the Aim India Forum, stated that a positive contact is established with the Indian Embassy located in Iran. But he explains that so far, it has not served any purpose.
‘Officials of the organizations have asked to connect and consult with the ship owners duly. Unfortunately, the company comprises partners who have a rift among themselves. Due to this, several seafarers, including Yaseen, haven’t received their wages.”
He added that the organization gave the details and the contact information of all the consulting agencies and ship owners to the Embassy. Additionally, the forum is demanding an early intervention by the Ministry of External Affairs so that all the stranded seafarers come back home safely and along with their unpaid wages.
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