Evacuation of stranded sailors raises questions

The sailors are moved to a shelter house 2km away from the port

Authorities have yet to make a decision on the rescue of the remaining crew members of “Banglar Samriddhi” from Ukraine following the death of a sailor. The sailor was killed in a missile attack on the port of Olvia in the Mykolaiv region on the left bank of the Dnipro-Bug estuary of the northern Black Sea coast.

The Bangladesh embassy in Poland, however, said that the stranded sailors had been moved to a shelter house 2km away from the port yesterday.

Sultana Laila Hossain, Bangladesh’s ambassador in Poland, told Dhaka Tribune: “If the situation deteriorates again the sailors have been instructed to enter a bunker.”

The body of the slain sailor, Md Hadisur Rahman, was being preserved in a safe location under the supervision of the embassy.

The Bangladesh Shipping Corporation (BSC) ship anchored at Olvia port on February 22 to transport goods to Italy. However, as the Russian-Ukraine situation reached its tipping point, the ship was stranded on the Black Sea.

"After the ship was anchored at the Ukrainian port of Olvia, we learned about the presence of mines in all channels of the port. The captain of the ship sought help from the government through the BSC and Bangladesh embassies in Europe,” Monsurul Amin Khan, additional master of the ship, told Dhaka Tribune.

Neither side came to the rescue of the sailors, he said.

Following the missile attack on Wednesday, the ship’s power supply was disrupted.

Fearing another attack, the stranded sailors have made a plea for help. "We have no power supply on board. The ship is running on an emergency power supply that may run out any time."

Asked why no rescue action had been taken after the sailors appealed for help, Captain Noor E Alam, general manager of BSC, said the matter was brought to the notice of the higher authorities.

He said the authorities would investigate why the ship had to anchor in a Ukrainian port despite a war developing in the region.

Earlier in the day, BSC Executive Director (Commerce) Piyush Datta told the media the ship went to port after assurances of security from the chartered company.

Meanwhile, the Russian embassy in Bangladesh has expressed its condolences at the Bangladeshi sailor’s death. 

However, according to a media report, neither Russia nor Ukraine has claimed responsibility for the attack. 

State Minister for Shipping Khalid Mahmud Chowdhury said the government was giving utmost importance to ensuring the safety of the stranded Bangladeshi crew members.