Harassed by Chief Officer: Alleges Missing Sailor Dhananjay’s Kin

The sailor’s father wants the higher authorities to probe the senior officer’s involvement in the whole incident.

Updated
India
3 min read
Dhananjay Arora, a 21-year-old deck cadet, went missing on 13 Sept 2020 under mysterious circumstances.
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The family of a 21-year-old deck cadet who went missing on 13 September 2020 under mysterious circumstances while on board a crude oil carrier 'MT New Horizon', has raised an alarm and alleged foul play in the matter.

The cadet, Dhananjay Arora, was on board the ship for over 10 months, according to family members.

On the midnight of 13 September, the sailor's family was informed that their son was missing by the Fleet Management Limited, a Caravel Group Company headquartered in Hong Kong SAR. He was last seen on the vessel at 5:45 pm and was later reported missing after he failed to report for duty.

After three hours of on board search and having not located the sailor on the vessel, the company launched search and rescue operations to look for him in coordination with Mauritius Maritime Rescue Coordination Center (MMRC).

‘Was Harassed by his Chief Officer’: Dhananjay’s Kin

Dhananjay’s family suspects foul play and claims that the crew is trying to hide something. According to the family, the seafarer was allegedly being harassed by his chief officer and was planning to file a complaint against him once he was back from his training.

“Dhananjay was the junior most officer on ship after the crew changed in July. He mentioned that he was being harassed by his chief officer and wanted to file a complaint against him. He was stopped by his parents as his training period was about to end in a month and they didn’t want him to get in any kind of trouble while he was still sailing.”
Karuneshwar Jha, Dhananjay’s Cousin

On 13 September, before Dhananjay went missing, he had messaged his friend at 4:33 pm asking for help, and at 4:36 pm, he sent his sister pictures of an officer – he had taken on board – requesting her to save them on her phone. The deck cadet called his mother that evening and seemed under stress, he told her that he'll be calling again at night.

“He was extremely stressed and missed being home. On his last call with his mother, he asked her if she was proud of him. He sounded very upset, and we didn’t receive any call from him that night.”
Dhananjay’s Family

On Saturday morning, 18 September, the family told The Quint, that the captain of the ship informed them that Dhananjay was indeed being harassed by his chief officer and a full investigation into the matter is underway.

‘Search for Missing Sailor Suspended After 4 Days’: Fleet Management

On Saturday, 18 September, the Fleet Management Limited, issued a statement on the extensive search and rescue operation for the missing sailor being suspended after four days.

On the allegations of harassment by the family, the company told The Quint, “Fleet Management Limited adheres to a clear and strict code of conduct in relation to these matters. A full investigation is underway and the manager is co-operating fully with the relevant authorities in this ongoing investigation.”

The company stated they will be waiting for official investigation and believe it is “inappropriate to comment while the investigation is ongoing”.

The Quint also reached out to Tushar Sharma, Senior Manager at the Fleet Management and head of Elegant Marine Services Pvt Ltd, who refused to comment on the allegations of harassment made by the family.

The family has written several mails to the Ministry of External Affairs and has reached out to the Marine Mercantile Department and the Ministry of Home Affairs. The sailor’s father wants the higher authorities to probe the matter, investigate the senior officer, and look into his involvement in the whole incident.

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