KUWAIT: Sixteen Indian sailors who were stranded in Kuwait for the past 14 months are seen at Kuwait International Airport prior to their departure to India on Friday.

By Sajeev K Peter

KUWAIT: All 16 Indian sailors who were stranded onboard the ship MV Ula in Kuwait for the past 14 months have reached their homeland safely. The sailors left Friday on a ‘Vande Bharat’ mission flight bound for New Delhi with tickets arranged by the Indian Embassy in Kuwait, a press release issued by the embassy said.

The sailors were stranded on the ship after it was detained at Kuwait’s Shuaiba Port since February 2020 following a legal dispute between the ship’s owner and the owner of its cargo. The sailors had gone on hunger strike over the prolonged crisis. All the other formalities including medical checkups and PCR tests were arranged by the embassy prior to the departure of the crewmembers in cooperation with the authorities in Kuwait, the release added.

Indian Ambassador Sibi George expressed his sincere gratitude to the Kuwaiti leadership and the concerned authorities in the country, including officials from the ministries of foreign affairs, communications and interior; Kuwait Port Authority and customs authorities for their cooperation and support.

The embassy’s officers regularly coordinated with each of these departments to resolve the complex issues involved and ensure the crew’s departure to India. The embassy will continue to remain in touch with the authorities to follow up on other issues involved, the release added.