[Updated] Family plea for investigation and accountability into son’s death on MT Sea Princess

Press Release

1 February 2021 [Updated 3 Feb 21]

“Sir, I want to know what happened to my dear son. My wife is totally broken.”

Updated: 3 Feb 21. See updates at end of article.

London. UK. / New Delhi. India. With express permission and at the direct request of the family of the seafarer tragically found hung onboard the MT SEA PRINCESS (IMO 8607634) off the UAE coast during a final voyage to a ship-breaking location in Alang, India; Human Rights at Sea publishes the family’s written plea for an investigation, accountability and the return of their son’s body to Uttar Pradesh without delay.

The personal and voluntary request was made to Human Rights at Sea to not just highlight the family’s tragedy and suffering, but to prevent it from happening again to another seafarer and their family.

HRAS reproduces the text of the family’s letter, below. The words are those of the father of the deceased.

[QUOTE]

“Dear Sir,

I like to bring to your kind attention that on January, 30, 2021 at 10.30 a.m. I received a call from a crew member on the ship Sea Princess. The call has devastated our lives. The crew member told me that my son Bhupendra died on January 28, 2021. To this minute we are unable to believe this.”

“I immediately called the manning agent in Mohali to find out the truth. The phone is continually switched off and till now we are unable to reach the manning company. With heavy heart I bring to your notice that the manning agent/ shipowner has not intimated about my son’s demise officially. They have not called me or sent any email or sent any written information about the death of my son. I don’t know what happened to my son. There is no reason for my son to end his life.”

“Sir, I want to know what happened to my dear son. My wife is totally broken. I can’t see her in this condition. I want a thorough investigation to be done. Please investigate into his untimely death, and take action against those persons responsible for my son’s death. My son is not with us today, but we don’t want any other seafarer’s life to be lost again.”

“Please take the strictest of action against the recruitment agent and the shipping company for hiding the information about the death. From January 28 to till this day they have not informed us. They did not have the heart to call the parents. I don’t know how they can be so cruel. Please take strong action against them. If today they are allowed to escape, tomorrow they will do the similar thing with another seafarers family. We don’t want any other families to suffer.”

“Sir, we want to see our son as early as possible. I humbly request you to direct the ship owners to send my son’s mortal remains by the first available flight. Sir, I hope you will understand our mental agony. We have lost everything. Please help us sir.”

“Thanking you.

Yours sincerely,

Suresh.

Father of Bhupendra.”

[UNQUOTE]

CEO, David Hammond, said: “Any parent reading this will understand the heart-felt plea for justice and support. This is a young life tragically lost and which should have never happened. Lessons must be identified, learned and transparently highlighted.”

At the time of writing, HRAS has not received a response from the flag state, and the family reported (16:40 GMT 1 Feb 21) that there had still been no direct contact from the manning agent or the owners four days after the incident.

The Mission to Seafarers is seeking access to the vessel in the Khor Fakkan inner anchorage to support the crew, subject to the outcome of the ongoing police investigation. The Mission is providing emergency support in Dubai and India, alongside the Sailors Society.

The deceased’s body was taken from the vessel yesterday morning (30 January), and transferred ashore following a formal Indian Government request by the Consulate to UAE authorities.

The family have been kept closely informed by the on-scene welfare organisations.

This article may be subject to update.

UPDATES

3 Feb 21 08:30 GMT. Flag status. Following an update to the MarineTraffic website (2 Feb 21) as the source of the original reporting data (accessed 30 Jan 21), and separate contact from the Cook Islands flag Registry (2 Feb 21), the details of this case were updated. The Cook Islands administration stated 2 Feb 21 (09:23) that “the Cook Islands is not currently – and was not at the time of the accident, the vessel’s flag state. M/T Sea Princess was deleted from our Registry on 10 January 2021, upon request of the vessel’s owners”. On the 3 Feb 21 (08:05) the Malta transport centre confirmed in writing that “the vessel is not currently registered with the Malta flag”. HRAS is investigating further as the vessel is registered on other vessel tracking sites with another flag administration.  ENDS.

Photo credit via Family of Bhupendra

Ends.

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