Young Indian sailor goes missing in Dubai waters

Abu Dhabi, Apr 16 (IANS): A 23-year-old Indian sailor aboard a ship stranded off the coast of Dubai has been reported missing since March 9, the media reported on Tuesday.

Jagadeeswara Rao disappeared from a vessel that was anchored 3.5 miles off Port Rashid in Dubai, said D. Ramu, the health and safety manager at a Dubai company where the sailor's father Srinivasa Rao works as a welder.

Ramu who helped the family report the matter to the authorities told Gulf News on Tuesday Jagadeeswara Rao came to the UAE as a seaman in September through Oasis Maritime Shipping Agency in Ajman on a visa sponsored by Emirates Shipping Company LLC.

"On March 9, his (the sailor's) friend Dileep Kumar called up Srinivasa's home in Andhra Pradesh and informed that Jagadeeswara is missing from the ship, where they worked together," Ramu was quoted as saying by Gulf News.

Citing Dileep Kumar, Ramu said Jagadeeswara Rao was on duty on the day he disappeared.

"When his reliever went to take over the shift, he (Dileep Kumar) didn't find Jagadeeswara on the ship's deck where he was supposed to be working. He immediately informed ship authorities and Coast Guards."

"We only came to know about this on March 10. We collected the details from his hometown and found that the shipping agency in Ajman had received Jagadeeswara on a 96 hours' visa and sent him to a private owner's ship. They said they don't know what happened later," Ramu said.

He told Gulf News that after talking with other sailors, he got to know that all of them were unpaid for several months and had to depend on nearby ships at times for food. "That day also they had visited another ship and shared the dinner. It was after dinner that Jagadeeswara went to the deck while others slept near the captain's cabin."

Ramu said after pursuing the issue with the agency and the ships' owner, a complaint was registered with the Ports Police. The police said they searched for five days in the water underneath the vessel's location but didn't find anything about Jagadeeswara Rao.

Ramu has been following the case through the Indian Consulate in Dubai as well, according to the report. The mission said it had taken up the matter with the local authorities and was pursuing it.

"We had taken it up with the foreign office, the police and the Federal Transport Authority. We have been pursuing the matter. However, they have not been able to find him," the Consulate said.

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