Sri Lankan crew plea for help

A Sri Lankan captain of a ship stranded in Somalia for the past five months is pleading for help as the crew onboard the vessel, which include Sri Lankans, begin to face serious health risks.

Mr. Sarath, the captain of MV Layla, spoke to Mohamed Saed of Berberanews by phone, and said that their ship has been stranded in the Somaliland port of Berbera, for the past five months without charge.

He requested urgent help from aid agencies, the international community and the Somaliland government insisting the crew are in desperate need of health care and lacked access to the basic necessities.

He said the crew of Somali, Indian, Pakistanis and Sri Lankans had not received adequate food, water or medications and a number of them are on the verge of committing suicide while many are gravely ill. He also added that, the crew have not received any wages from Al-Hufoof Shipping & Forwarding for the past five months. He described the living conditions on the ship as “hell”.

So far no rights group have contacted them and the people are getting frustrated by the minute. Mr Sarath made personal plea to the Indian, Sri Lankan and Somaliland authority to intervene.

The ship is not docked at the port but in the middle of the ocean and the crew have not been on land for five months and time is running out on them, unless helped urgently many of them could die.

The governments of India, Somaliland, UAE, Sri Lanka and Pakistan need to resolve the situation for the sake of the crew if Omar International and Al-Hufoof Shipping & Forwarding would not resolve their dispute for the last five months, he said.

When contacted by Daily Mirror online a Sri Lankan foreign ministry official said  “It is unable for any government to contact the pirates in Somalia as they  are not of any particular government

 “It is always the ship owners who get in contact with the pirates for negotiation” the official said

The owner of the ship is in contact with the Sri Lankan high commissioner in Singapore for latest updates on the issue.

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