Detained sailors ‘stripped’ of their mobile phones, leaving their families distraught

MT Heroic legend Idun tweeted that the ship was about to be towed to the Nigerian border where it was likely to be handed over to authorities there.

Legend of the MT Heroic Idun tweeted that the vessel was about to be towed to the Nigerian border where it was likely to be handed over to local authorities

Uncertainty surrounding the fate of the 15 Indian sailors, including three Malayalis, detained in Equatorial Guinea, has increased further as they are said to have been stripped of their mobile phones, thus cutting off their communication with their families.

Crude Oil Carrier Sailors Heroic TM Idun have been in detention since August 8. The ship was seized by the Equatorial Guinean Navy under the direction of their Nigerian counterparts, suspected of pirating crude oil.

Detained Malayali sailors communicated with their families back home through video calls. Their social media accounts have also drawn attention to their plight. In fact, the social media status of Sanu Jose, one of Kochi’s detained sailors, read “the phone is with the navy”, leaving his wife Metilda Sanu in despair.

“All I got today (Thursday) was an email from him (Sanu) saying his phone was seized and was likely to be handed over to Nigerian authorities. also appears that they were under increased pressure from Equatorial Guinea Navy officers aboard the vessel,” she said.

Moreover, a visibly shaken Tanuj Mehta, captain of Heroic TM Iduntweeted a video indicating that the vessel was about to be towed to the Nigerian border where it was likely to be handed over to authorities.

‘Bring us back’

“This is an illegal operation. Help us and save us. Bring us home. We will die in Nigeria,” he said in a tweet. The video also showed the Indian sailors individually asking for help. ‘assistance.

Meanwhile, according to international media, a fact sheet has been released by the Nigerian Navy on the incident. According to her, although the ship did not carry crude oil from Nigeria, it is nevertheless accused of having violated the laws of Nigeria in “other ways”.