‘We want him back alive’: Missing Chennai sailor’s family speaks to TNM

Silambarasan is among the 10 Indians who are missing after their ship sank off the coast of Philippines on October 13.
‘We want him back alive’: Missing Chennai sailor’s family speaks to TNM
‘We want him back alive’: Missing Chennai sailor’s family speaks to TNM
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It has been more than 10 days that Malavaranan Silambarasan, a 26-year-old sailor from Chennai, has been missing. The wait is not easy for the family.

Silambarasan was onboard the MV Emerald Star, a cargo ship which sunk near the Philippines on October 13. There were 26 Indians on board, out of which 16 Indians were rescued. The vessel had reportedly sent a distress signal, and a few members were saved.

Silambarasan hails from New Washermanpet in Chennai. “We came to know that the ship sunk while we were watching the news on a Tamil channel. The company, Admiral Marine Services Limited, which had recruited my brother, also called and informed us about the incident,” says Dhayalan, Silambarasan’s brother, who is also a sailor. 

The family had last spoken to him on October 8, when the ship that he was on left Indonesia and was on its way to China.

“He was not very happy with Admiral Marine Services as they did not pay him the promised amount. He had also said that there was no proper food or provision. The company had promised to pay him $1100 but had only paid about $550. He had told me about these issues on WhatsApp,” Dhayalan added.

Silambarasan had joined Mumbai-based Admiral Marine Services Private Limited on February 28, 2017, and was hired on a contractual basis for 10 months. He had been sailing for three years, and then did a diploma course in Mechanical Engineering. However, he didn’t get a job, so he decided to go back to sailing to earn money in order to start a business.

But now, all that the family wants is for Silambarasan to come back home.

“We do not want any compensation. We just want him back alive. I believe that he would not have drowned. He must be near one of the islands where the ship sunk. If he would have drowned, they would have found his body by now,” says Dhayalan.

He also stated that a search and rescue operation was being carried out by three countries — China, Philippines and India. The company had told the family that the search has been stopped for few days due to bad weather.

He alleged that there has not been any proper communication from the company. “We have to keep calling them to know about the developments. They do not even give proper information. They told us that some family members of the Captain had been sent to Delhi to the meet External Affairs Minister. Why can’t they send the other families also?” asks Dhayalan.

“Our only hope now is God. We are praying for my brother. For everyone else, they will only remember this for few days and forget about it but we need Silambarasan back,” says Dhayalan.

TNM tried contacting Admiral Marine Services Private Limited, but they were not available for comment.

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