CHATTOGRAM: A Bangladeshi-flagged cargo vessel with 29 crew members, including two female cadets, aboard has got stuck in a Ukrainian port following the Russian attack on the country.
The panic-stricken crew members, all Bangladeshis, and their families have been passing time amid anxiety for the last six days as sounds of blasts are heard near Olvia Port.
Specialised seaport Olvia is a medium-sized port located in Mykolaiv region on the left bank of the Dnieper-Bug estuary on the northern Black Sea coast.
Preferring not to be named, an engineer aboard the ship shared horrifying experiences with the Daily Sun over phone.
Hailing from Chattogram, he said the chartered bulk-carrier, ‘MV Banglar Samriddhi’, owned by Bangladesh Shipping Corporation (BSC) reached the Ukrainian port on February 21 from Turkey and anchored in the anchorage area of the port.
They got stranded in the port after the war started. The port operation was also suspended on February 24 due to the volatile situation, the engineer said, adding that they were supposed to load ‘ball clay’ from the port and leave for Italy within five days.
He said there are a total of 29 crew members, including two female cadets, on the vessel and all are from Bangladesh. “We’re in a war zone now. We’re haring sounds of blasts in the nearby areas, especially in the night hours,” said the panic-stricken engineer.
“We don’t know what is going to happen. Our family members are also passing time amid anxiety as we may come under attack anytime,” the Bangladeshi said, narrating the situation.
He urged the BSC and the Bangladesh government to take immediate steps to rescue them and the vessel.
However, despite repeated attempts, the BSC managing director could not be contacted over phone for his comments.
Captain M Mujibur Rahman, BSC general manager (Chartering and planning), said the activities at Olvia Port remained suspended for the last few days due to the war and the ship anchored near the port. “We’ve already cancelled the loading schedule and given permission to the ship for sailing. But, it won’t be able to depart through the 50-60 mile port channel without the help of local pilots. And there’re also military patrol outside the channel,” he said.
“There’s nothing to do until the port operation resumes. However, we’re trying through the diplomatic channel while those who hired the ship have been urged to work to take the ship to a safer place as soon as possible,” he said.
‘Banglar Samriddhi’ is a bulk-carrier built in 2018 and it is currently sailing under the flag of Bangladesh.