Tragic seafarer suicide on asphalt tanker vessel off UAE coast

Feb 04 2021

With express permission, it is with great sadness that we report the tragic and premature death of a young seafarer onboard the MT SEA PRINCESS (IMO 8607634), an asphalt bitumen tanker owned by Global tanker Pvt Ltd India and operated by Prime Tankers (UAE), which occurred on the afternoon of 28 January 2021 off the UAE coast.

The vessel was en-route with 13 Indian crew from Sharjah to Alang, India, where it is due to be scrapped. The dependents have been informed.


The general alarm was raised by the Master after fellow crew members could not locate the seafarer and the crew conducted a full vessel search. The deceased was found hanging in the boiler room. The Master checked for a pulse, but did not find one.


Human Rights at Sea was first alerted at 04:57 GMT 30 January by a senior crew member requesting assistance, as access to port state services through the local agent had not been made available in the Khor Fakkan Anch anchorage. Similar requests were made to other authorities.


The crew reported that the deceased had been on the vessel for 13 months and that in their view, the vessel is not seaworthy. Further, it is reported that the vessel is low on fuel oil with only emergency levels now available.


The crew alerted the Indian Embassy, Director General Shipping India, ISWAN and ITF.


Human Rights at Sea alerted the Mission to Seafarers in both London, and Dubai at the office of the Reverend Andy Bowerman, as well as liaised with ISWAN’s representative in India, Chirag Bahri, passing on all available case details.


The charity had positive engagement with the UAE Maritime Administration through Captain Abdulla Al-Hayyas, seeking clarity as to the level of available support for the vessel and its crew by UAE authorities.


Owners, Global Tankers Pvt Ltd responded to a telephone call and email correspondence from HRAS. They informed the charity in writing that the vessel sailed on 26 January from Sharjah (UAE) heading for Port Alang having been sold for demolition to Mssrs Al Garhoud General Trading LLC (Dubai) on 6 January 2021.


The owners alleged that the UAE port authorities initially refused vessel access and disembarkment of the deceased’s body for repatriation, stating that authorities had declined to support the request.


The Cook Islands administration stated on 2 February 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 February 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.  


At the time of writing, the reason(s) for the suicide are under investigation.


Human Rights at Sea extends its sincere condolences to the family and friends of the deceased, and welcomes the supporting response by the coastal State authorities and welfare organisations.


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