Xpress, 12-01-2012 06:17:13


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Fujairah: A newly-wed Indian bride is anxiously awaiting news of her husband who went missing after a freak ship accident at Fujairah port last fortnight.

Chief Officer Rohit Singh, 30, was on board the Mercator-managed Aframax oil tanker Prem Divya on December 29 when the vessel was rocked by a series of explosions, presumably caused by a spark during routine maintenance and repair work.

Three bodies were recovered from the debris. Rohit is among two crewmen who are yet to be found.

Married recently

Rohit married Anuradha, 25, six months back, but the couple had spent barely two months together before the call of duty took Singh back to the seas.

"We are shattered. He was the sole breadearner in the family," Singh’s father, Shailendra Kumar Singh, 60, told XPRESS over the phone from the Indian city of Darbhanga.

"I have reconciled to the fact that my son is dead, but Anuradha is still hopeful. My heart aches to see her praying for his return."

Rohit, described by friends and family as caring and generous, was the older of Singh’s two children.

"Every father would like to have a son like Rohit. He was so thoughtful and loving. He and Anuradha made a happy couple. I don’t know how she will spend the rest of her life without him. She is so young," said Singh, who was informed about the incident by a staff of Mercator Limited, the Indian firm which owned the ship.

"It was 8pm on December 30 when I got that dreaded phone call. I felt my world cave in but I was optimistic. My son was missing. He was not dead so I thought maybe he had survived and swum to safety. For several days we waited for his call. Miracles happen, don’t they? Now, of course, I am convinced he’s dead. I just hope they can find his body so that it’s repatriated and we are able to perform his last rites."

To seek updates, Singh has been desperately trying to get in touch with officials of the Ministry of External Affairs in India. So far he hasn’t had any luck. "I have also tried contacting the ship’s crew who’ve been put up in a Fujairah hotel, but couldn’t get through. If the pain of losing my son is not bad enough, now I have to cut through bureaucratic red tape," he said. Singh’s family friend, former Indian minister M.A.A. Fatimi, urged the Indian Consulate to look into the matter.

Ashok Babu, Consul for information at the Indian Consulate in Dubai, said they are aware of the case. "A Consular Officer had visited Fujairah. The matter is still under investigation. There is no information on the whereabouts of Rohit," he said

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