Togo sailor tragedy: Auxiliary bishop visits family, promises to approach Ghana bishop

Published: Dec 17, 2013, 09:07 IST | Anuradha Varanasi |

Sunil's infant's body, meanwhile, is still lying in the Cooper Hospital morgue

Over two weeks have passed since Captain Sunil James, who has been languishing in Togo, lost his infant son Vivaan to septicaemia. Vivaan’s family is living in constant hope that Sunil will arrive in the nick of time for the last rites, though it has been a week since they last heard him speak, for barely 30 seconds.

On his visit to the James family’s home, Agnelo Gracias, the auxiliary Bishop of Mumbai, blessed Aditi, and expressed hope that sustained media exposure, as well as church intervention, could help the family get in touch with Sunil. Pic/Nimesh Dave

Sunil’s 29-year-old wife Aditi is still coming to terms with the loss of Vivaan, who passed away days short of his first birthday. She hardly eats these days, and her relatives are concerned. On Monday, the family was visited by Agnelo Gracias, the auxiliary Bishop of Mumbai, who hopes that sustained media exposure, as well as church intervention, could help the family get in touch with Sunil.

MiD DAY’s report on December 5

“The saddest part is that they (the family) don’t know what is happening. I advised them to get in touch with him through the Church, as the Togo embassy is not based in Mumbai. Maybe with enough media exposure, we will be able to reach out to him.” He added that he would make an attempt to get in touch with the Bishop based in Ghana, to help the family. Though Sunil’s brother-in-law Rakesh Maddapa has been in Togo for the past one month, he is yet to receive any response from the authorities.

Avni Maddapa, Aditi’s sister, said, “Our lawyer is also in Togo. However, the details about his condition are vague. We are growing increasingly anxious, as so far, nothing regarding Sunil’s case has been filed on paper.” “Baby Vivaan is still lying in Cooper Hospital’s morgue. The worse part is, his parents’ right to bid farewell to their own baby boy is being withheld. Aditi doesn’t eat much all day, and will get some peace of mind only after his funeral is conducted, in Sunil’s presence,” she added.

Baby Vivaan succumbed to septicaemia after undergoing an operation for gangrene in the intestines at Andheri’s Holy Spirit hospital on December 2. “Ever since, we had requested doctors at Cooper Hospital’s morgue to keep Vivaan there. How long can we keep his body there? The last time we spoke to Sunil on the phone was last week, that too for barely 30 seconds. We get phone calls from him about once in a week, when a phone is briefly handed over to him. But he doesn’t reveal too much about how he’s surviving in a foreign jail,” rued Avni.

“He was devastated when he was informed about his son’s death, and is in a state of shock,” she added. James had left Mumbai in the last week of April, on a four month contract with a UK based marine company, M/s Union Maritime. He then flew to Lagos, Africa where he took charge of the vessel MT Ocean Centurion. Pirates captured it shortly after that. He has been incarcerated in Togo ever since, over possible links to the crime. 

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