Bhatkal, July 19: A Karnataka youth, who has been working as a seafarer on a cargo ship in Iran has been stranded at the port for more than 19 months. 31-year-old Yaseen Shah, resident of Bhatkal, has not had any contact for the last six months with either the owners of the ship or the agency that got him the job. The situation has forced Yaseen Shah to live near the dock of the Khorramshahr port in Iran.
Yaseen landed in Iran in January 2020 and started working as a seafarer on a cargo ship that was anchored at Iran port. But the ship never left the anchor though movement of other cargo ships had resumed after the pandemic situation had improved.
With no VISA in hand, not paid salary for the entire one year, Yaseen tried everything he could do to get his due.
“I have loaned nearly Rs 6 lakh to get a degree and reach Iran. I have also paid money to the agency which offered me a job as a seafarer for 200 $ per month. But when I reached Iran the agreement was changed by the Iranian agency. Most of the Indians who come here as seafarers are often duped as the agreement will be in the Parsian language. As I knew little but of Parsian I objected to the agreement letter which stated that my salary is now 150 dollars. As I was in need of money I agreed to the job, but still I was not paid after one year,” Yaseen Shah was quoted as saying by The New Indian Express.
“For the last six months I have not even been offered any ration or assistance from the ship owners and the agency. I have been eating food from the other ships that are docked in the port. The company offered me an air ticket to India six months ago but refused to pay my wages for an entire year. I decided to stay and fight as many Indian boys are being duped this way. A man from Tamil Nadu took the air ticket and left India without worrying about the unpaid wages. I have contacted the Indian consulate and other organisations explaining the plight of seafarers,” he said.
Several organisations from India and abroad have been trying to help Yaseen. Shirali Shaikh Muzaffer, Founder President of Aim India Forum said that a contact was established with the Indian Embassy in Iran.
“But so far it's not been helpful. The officials have asked us to consult the shipping company owners. The company has three partners who are having a rift due to which many seafarers including Yaseen are not paid their wages. We have also provided the details and contact numbers of agents and ship owners to the Embassy. We are demanding early intervention from the Ministry of External Affairs so that a stranded Indian can be brought back to his home with his wages paid,” he said.