The captain of an all-Kenyan crew vessel MV Queen Bihanga marooned in an Indonesian port is calling to the Government to help the team to come back home. Athman Khamis Mzee a.k.a. Rotation said that the squad has been marooned in the far-off nation for one year and nine months with no sufficient food. The ship developed mechanical problems and is tied up at Port Tan Jung in Indonesia.
According to documents, the listed owner of the vessel is a Burundian national, Rafiki Abraham Diego. He runs Dich Trading Company, which deals with steel, situated along Mombasa Road in Mlolongo, Nairobi. “We have been helped by the International Transport Federation office here and the local Mission to Seamen office. They cannot carry on fending for us. We are looking for a way out of our miseries,” said Mzee.
And in a frantic bid, the crew of five stormed the offices of the Kenyan Honorary Consul in Jakarta to insist on help. Mzee said the ambassador contacted the nearest Kenyan High Commission in Malaysia where the crew spoke with embassy officials. A Mombasa-based civil society group, Haki Africa, has expressed disapproval at the way the five Kenyan sailors have been handled.
However the Kenya Maritime Authority (KMA) has denied claims that five marooned seafarers who have been in Asia for the last two years were apprehended at the port of Jakarta. The agency said the seamen, including a sixth man from Burundi, had not been arrested by Indonesian authorities but were seeking safety after their vessel broke down at sea.
Preliminary media reports showed that the seamen had been detained after the Zanzibar-bound general cargo ship was found to have been unseaworthy.
Mr Cherop said the KMA is keeping an eye on the situation and has made required intercessions with Indonesian authorities, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Transport and other international shareholders.