Not Logged In, Login,

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Hebei Spirit - help bring Captain Jasprit Chawla and Chief Officer Syam Chetan home from Korea as soon as possible

We have received the following letter from Neeraj Joshi, a Master Mariner working in Singapore for the United Ocean Group. The views expressed in relation to the Hebei Spirit case are his, and do not necessarily reflect his company's position. He has sent the letter to international shipping associations, national ship owner associations, and trade press.


'Dear Seniors & Colleagues of the Maritime Industry.


Yet again we see with regret, anguish and indeed (!) a feeling of deja-vu, that a seafarer is being victimised due to a malicious tangled web of extra-judicial and/or extra-legal interpretation of the local law. In comparison to the experienced persons amidst your organizations' ranks we do not profess to have even the most minimal knowledge of the legalities involved. But, as current or ex-seafarers, we do consider the extended detentions of Capt. Jasprit Chawla and Chief Officer Syam Chetan (ex- 'Hebei Spirit') in Korea as unjust, unfair and unnecessary.


When even some of the worst civil or criminal offenders worldwide can be released on bail and allowed to live in their place of normal residence, pending trail or re-trial, why not two seafarers, whose only fault was to be on an anchored VLCC which fell in the path of a maverick tow adrift?


Consider this. If a passenger aircraft, while waiting in the correct taxiway, was hit by an out-of-control aircraft-towing tractor resulting in jet-fuel spill, fire or death of the passengers, would the passenger aircraft's obviously innocent commander & first officer been treated the way the commander & first officer of the 'Heibei Spirit' have? Obviously not!


We all live off the sea and seafaring, in one way or the other. Let's hold our heads high and also hold our colleagues' freedom and respect even higher. We, as individuals, can only do so much. But you, Mesdames & Sirs, at the highest levels of the maritime industry can do a lot. So prove it to us, and support us and inspire us.


For starters, help us bring Capt. Jasprit Chawla and Chief Officer Syam Chetan home as soon as possible. Let there be two families out there in India who can say with happiness and pride. 'At sea, a sailor never leaves the other in distress; our sons were rescued by sailors on land too!'


With best regards, Neeraj Joshi, for and on behalf of all the subjects of King Neptune.'


Contact: Bill Box