Published Date: 20-June-2009
Chennai, June 19: THE health condition of 13 crew members of the mercy mission ship, MV Captain Ali, anchored in the international waters outside Chennai, is fast deteriorating and two of them fell sick as the stock of fresh water in the ship went down to alarming levels.
According to Agni Subramaniam, executive director of Manitham and coordinator of things in the city for the ship, said, “Of the 13 crew in the ship, two people, one from Iceland and another from Syria, fell sick and they wanted to return to their country for treatment via Chennai.”
Both the people who fell sick on board were members of ex-Sri Lankan Monitoring Mission (SLMM). He also said that the freshwater reserve in the ship has gone down to alarming levels and if they were not given immediate supplies, there is a strong possibility that every one in the ship would fall sick.
A c c o rding to an emailed reply to Express from Vanni Mercy Mission headquarters in London, Arjunan Ethirveerasingam, co-ordinator of the mission, said that since Sri Lanka government refused to allow the ship to unload the relief materials (cargo) in Colombo, the ship is currently awaiting permission to unload the same in Chennai Port after due permission.
The ship is currently anchored at 18 nautical miles from Chennai coast (location GPS coordinates: 13 06n 80 19e) and awaiting permission from the Chennai Port authority to enter Chennai Port and discharge (unload) its humanitarian cargo for distribution to refugees living in the state. The ship with loads of relief materials gathered from different parts of the European nations set sail on May 7 from Fos-Sur- Mer, France, on the second leg of the “Mercy Mission to Vanni”. Captain Ali is carrying approximately 884 metric
tons of food, medicine and other essential humanitarian relief items destined for the 330,000 Tamil civilians in the Vanni area of Northern Sri Lanka displaced by the war. The “Mercy Mission to Vanni” began the first leg of its journey from the Port of Ipswich, UK, on April 20.,