Ships, crews and cargoes are in danger at two Indian ports, according to the masters of two arrested tankers from the Saint James Shipping fleet.
The vessels are said to be in danger of losing power from failing generators and exhausted fuel supplies, and their masters have pleaded that they do not know whom to call upon for help.
“We are in a very critical condition due to ship power generation machinery,” wrote Captain Zubair Aslam, master of the 18,041-dwt chemical-product tanker Aeon (built 2012), in a message addressed to all concerned parties on 22 July.
“I am not aware who is owner of the vessel at present and who is responsible for vessel,” wrote the master, who informed Saint James, Singapore-based Global Radiance Ship Management and other interested parties that the ship’s main generator is out of operation due to lack of spares and back-up generators are in critical condition.
But Sam Tariverdi, chief executive of Athens-based Saint James, confirmed that he is still the shipowner. He told TradeWinds: “The ownership of these ships hasn’t changed. But the situation is out of our hands, especially with the Aeon.”
TradeWinds has previously reported on multiparty legal action that has led to an international stand-off among owner, financier, charterers, insurers, ship managers and suppliers.
The crews of the Saint James ships are legally in a state of abandonment as they have not been paid for more than two months, a circumstance that Tariverdi blames on manager Global Radiance Ship Management.
“It is an SOS call for our vessel,” wrote Aslam in a message TradeWinds has seen.
The ship has dragged anchor frequently in its 10 days under arrest and has used its remaining fuel to change position and take strain off the anchor chain.
“But in case of power failure we will not be able to manoeuvre or re-anchor the vessel,” warned the captain.
“If you don’t attend this issue, the safety of the vessel, cargo, crew and the safety of other vessels in the vicinity of anchorage are in danger.”
The Aeon, under arrest at Mumbai, is one of four tankers owned by Saint James but under notice of repossession by New York financier EnTrust Global. As TradeWinds has previously reported, the ships were insured by the American Club until early June, when cover was terminated for non-payment of premiums.
Only two ships are under arrest, the Aeon and its fleetmate the 11,479-dwt Sol (built 2007) at Hazira further up the Indian western coast.
Captain Asad Bin Sayeed of the Sol has likewise warned that his ship is in danger of blackout, for lack of fuel.
“We are now left with hardly a week’s stock of fuel oil for running our generator,” he wrote. “Once this finishes, there will be a complete blackout.”
The time may be shorter, wrote the captain, as fuel pumps could lose suction without warning.
A loss of power would not only leave the ship unable to manoeuvre but threaten to starve the crew, who were recently resupplied with an emergency food shipment but who depend on generator power for refrigeration.
Filth is accumulating on the neglected ship for lack of hygienic supplies for garbage disposal.
“The garbage has also heaped up as we cannot throw out even the food items here as per the rules,” Bin Sayeed wrote. “As a result, the mosquitoes and flies are also on the increase.”
Meanwhile, another Saint James ship now in Yemen is hoping to discharge its cargo and avoid arrest in a war zone.
The master of the 17,475-dwt Ariana (built 2016), Captain Syed Sajid Ali, told TradeWinds on 21 July that he believes his ship is generally in better shape than those that are under arrest in India, despite an engine breakdown that required a tow into the port of Mocha. The ship is discharging a gasoil cargo for a charterer believed to be SFI Marine Services of Dubai.
“We are now discharging, but slowly because of equipment that is not in good condition,” the captain said. He expected discharge to take a day and a half.