The seafarer has not had any contact for the last six months with either the owners of the ship or the agency that got him the job, and is yet to be paid.

Yaseen, the Indian seafarer stranded in Iran, standing against a vessel
news Labour rights Saturday, July 17, 2021 - 17:13

A 31-year-old man from Bhatkal in Karnataka who left for Iran to work as a seafarer on a cargo ship has been left stranded at the port for 19 months. The seafarer has not had any contact for the last six months with either the owners of the ship or the agency that got him the job. The situation has forced Yaseen Shah to live near the dock of the Khorramshahr port in Iran.

Yaseen landed in Iran in January 2020 but due to the effects of the pandemic, the ship (Payam 2) IMO 8748452 he was working on did not leave the port in Iran. Yaseen has not been paid wages for more than a year, and the Iranian agent who recruited him has held onto his passport.

Speaking to TNM, Yaseen alleged his contract was changed when he reached Iran and he refused to sign the contract because the salary was changed to $150 per month from the promised $200 per month. "This was not the salary we agreed to when I was leaving India and in the end my contract was done without a seal. This is one of the reasons the company is not paying me," says Yaseen. He says that the company offered to send him back on a flight six months ago but he refused to leave without receiving the wages he is due.

According to Yaseen, he is owed $3,800 (Rs 2.83 lakh), but the Iranian agent had said that he will be paid only $2,800 (Rs 2.12 lakh). However, he has not been paid anything so far. 

"The ship was anchored last year due to the pandemic and eventually the ship owners and the agency stopped communicating with me," Yaseen says. He says that many people from India are duped in this line of work through Iranian agents drawing up contracts in a foreign language. He says he wants to fight for his wages and intends to return with all the money he is owed. 

"Nothing can bring back the last 19 months. I have missed two Ramzans and two Bakrids in the last two years. I keep telling my family I will be back soon but I want to go back with the salary because I have not sent any money home to my parents and family," says Yaseen. 

His visa has expired, and says he is currently managing food and expenses with the help of by doing odd jobs and with the help of others in the area. 

Many organisations are trying to help Yaseen. Shirali Shaikh Muzaffer, Founder President of Aim India Forum, said that contact was established with the Indian Embassy in Iran. "I request the Indian mission considering his mental health, at the urgent basis kindly please expedite his repatriation from Iran to India as earliest," Shirali wrote in a letter addressed to the Indian Consulate in Iran.

Yaseen's work profile was that of an ordinary seaman. In this job profile, he can work a variety of roles on the ship including repairing, painting, engine room work and other roles in preparation for sailing.

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