25 Indians on their way back home
The Indian Embassy in Italy threw some valuable light on the status of the 201 Indian crew members who were on board the Italian cruise liner Costa Concordia, when it capsized on Friday night. First Secretary at the Embassy Vishwesh Negi revealed that 25 of them were likely to board Air Italia flights to Dubai, from where they would be taking connecting flights to their respective Indian cities.
Negi revealed that six Indian women were on board the liner, all of whom have luckily survived the accident. Vishwesh Negi told MiD DAY yesterday, "Over 90 per cent of the crew members on board were male, and a very small number were women, who all are safe."
The women include -- room service attendant Rebecca Ngaihte, assistant waiter Kristen Gail Lobo, assistant waiter Sapna Singh, waiter Yurshimla Shimray, waiter Torrance Joseph and security guard Reshma Karthand. All of them have been put up at Hotel Courtyard by Marriott in Rome, from where they will be flying to their respective cities soon.
Negi provided other updates on the future course of action, saying, "Out of the 201 Indian crew members, 186 have been taken to Rome, and the remaining 15 will be staying on at the Tuscan Coast in Italy to assist the local police as they carry out a sealed investigation. They will be giving evidence to the police. It is nothing but a procedural part of the investigation."
"We have provided the best possible assistance to the Indians who were on board, and are now in the process of issuing temporary travel documents for them. The crew members met with the senior officials of the Costa Crociere the cruise ship owner, and discussed issues pertaining to salary and perks at length. The officials have assured that they will do the needful," added Negi.
According to Negi, the cruise company has also arranged for the flight tickets for the Indians to reach home. "As per our information, the first lot of 25 people will board a Dubai-bound Air Italia flight by Tuesday evening, and from there would take connecting flights to their destinations like Mumbai, Delhi and Cochin. The remaining survivors will gradually follow."
Recruiting agency official speaks
Joydeep Singapuri, director, M/s Air Borne Recruiting Pvt Limited, told MiD DAY that of the 201 Indian crew members on board the ship, 150 were recruited by the firm, including Russel, who is still missing.
"We have been given to understand by Costa that 150 of crew members hired by us are safe and will be returning home shortly. As per the protocol, we, the recruiting agency, will share information about them first with the families of the crew members, and the Director General of Shipping, only after receiving authentic information from Costa Crociere," said Singapuri.
"Our first priority is to work closely with the agencies involved in the search operation for Russel and be with his family and support him in all possible ways," he added.
Experts in the industry hinted that this was one of the worst sea accidents reported in the recent past and is sure to have a major impact on the industry.
According to officials apart from M/s Air Brone some of the crewmembers were hired by two other recruiting agencies in Mumbai.