'I saw Amit, but couldn't do anything'

Feb 21, 2017, 17:52 IST | Suraj Ojha

Two survivors from the mid-sea disaster in Sharjah recall wild waves hitting their vessel and their inability to save their other colleagues

The wreckage of Alhamra
The wreckage of Alhamra

On the fateful day on February 3, 19 sailors were struck by disaster when their supply vessels -- Alhamra and MT Capricorn -- were hit mid-sea by waves as high as 13 feet around eight nautical miles from Sharjah port in UAE. Eight perished, 11 lived to tell the tale.

Of those, two survivors from Alhamra -- chief engineer Vimlesh Sheravat, originally from Jaipur, and captain Rahul Salunkhe from Pune -- said they were upset that they saw Amit Yadav, who hailed from Varanasi and lived in Rabale in Navi Mumbai, drifting away but couldn't do anything about it.

Knew how to swim
“I am still unable to believe that I survived such a deadly calamity. The waves were huge. Thankfully, I know how to swim and somehow fought the waves,” said Sheravat. Recalling the incident, he said, “Our ship was anchored, but due to bad weather, it began sinking. The waves went very high and within a few seconds, our ship went underwater. I was standing on the upper part of the ship, whereas Yadav, standing a few steps away from me, fell in. When the ship tilted, I too fell into the water, but I knew swimming. Moreover, I saw a life jacket that probably fell from my ship, so I swam to it and wore it.”

'Tried saving Amit'
“I saw Yadav was not very far. I tried calling out to him, but couldn't swim towards him, as the waves were lashing the opposite direction. I then heard him say that he could not swim as his leg was injured and in that time, a huge wave took me away from him.”

Lucky for Sheravat, he was not too far from the shore and within a few minutes, was being pulled in with the help of bamboo sticks.

Chief engineer Vimlesh Sheravat and Captain Rahul Salunkhe
Chief engineer Vimlesh Sheravat and Captain Rahul Salunkhe

Money crunch hits
Meanwhile, despite surviving, Salunkhe, Captain of Alhamra, says that there is the other issue they still face: No salary. “We have not received our salary since August. In this accident, I lost my passport, laptop, phone, clothes, everything.”
Manoj Yadav secretary of Forward Seamen's Union Of India, said, “If they had been recruited through RPSL license holders, then the families would have received the bodies and compensation easily, but unfortunately, they weren't. Now, we are going to file an FIR against these people who recruited these people.”

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