Ship captain held for taking on board four Indians illegally

The captain of a Panama-registered oil-laden cargo ship, Rise Dignity, that arrived at the Chennai Port was arrested on Sunday for illegally holding four Indians on board.

The ship, operated by a Hong Kong based company, started from Dubai, came via Iran and reached Chennai Port on Saturday morning.

The four Indians, Prakash from Tamil Nadu, Suresh Kumar from Kerala, Thejas Puket from Andhra Pradesh and Punit Bisla from Uttar Pradesh, went from Mumbai on June 21 to Dubai, after being recruited by an agency to clean ships.

The ship carrying crude oil began its journey on July 4 and was allowed to carry only 36 crew, but the captain took in the four men additionally without any valid documents and never included their names in the crew list, sources said.

On Saturday morning, when the ship arrived at the port, immigration officials, during a check, found that the men were on board illegally.

Captain of the ship Pawan Kumar, a resident of Pune, who took the four Indians without papers, was arrested under Section 14A (b) in The Foreigners (Amendment) Act, 2004 (entering into Indian territory without documents is punishable), Section 420 (cheating) and Section 120 B (conspiracy), police sources said. The four Indians left for their respective hometowns.

Chennai Port officials said though this was not the first time such a case was detected, such incidents were rare. “They wouldn’t have included the names as they will be forced to pay for their insurance and better wages. This way, they will save quite a lot of money,” an official said.

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