Lankan sailor at sea over lost funds

By Leon Berenger

Police boarded and searched a Singapore-flagged ship at the Colombo Port on Friday, in search of US$ 4,900 (LKR 500,000) reported missing from the vessel’s Chief Officer’s cabin on October 30, a senior official of the International Transportworkers Federation (ITF) said yesterday.

Local ITF Inspector Ranjan Perera told the Sunday Times that the police were instructed to board and search the crew members of the ship, following a complaint made by the Chief Officer Sanjeewa Rajapaksa.

According to the complaint, the money is reported to have gone missing when the vessel, Maersk-Simakau was berthed at Bremen port in Germany on October 30. He added that the 26-member crew that included Indians, Thais, Chinese, Singaporeans and Sri Lankans, and their respective cabins were searched without success.

“At the end of the day, since all the crew members were in possession of US currency, it was difficult to establish the missing money, and the search that lasted some three hours, drew a blank”, Mr. Perera said.

The ship entered Colombo Harbour late Thursday evening, and the crew was prevented from leaving the vessel until the search was carried out, on Friday he said. He added that talks had been initiated with the Singapore Maritime Officers Union (SMOU) to appeal to the company-At Moller, for some form of compensation to the victim.

“Apart from this, there is very little we can do at this end, as there is no provision in the law to detain the vessel or its crew,” Mr. Perera concluded.

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