The body of a Calcutta-based mariner, probably murdered by Pakistani fellow workers on a crude oil tanker plying between Venezuela and South Korea , has washed ashore on the Taiwan coast.
Taiwanese authorities say the body of Sambit Majumder is now being subjected to post-morten and DNA tests to conclusively prove the body is his and the circumstances of his death is clearer.
The family and colleagues of a Calcutta-based Bengali marine engineer , reported missing on the high seas off the Taiwan coast during the last leg of the voyage from Singapore to South Korea , says they suspect a ‘cover-up’ .
Sambit Majumder, a middle-aged mariner with experience of over two decades, was a second engineer of a Liberian-flag vessel ‘MT Serengeti’ and left home in early February.
His family living in the southern part of the city was informed of his going missing on the high seas on Thursday by the shipping liner.
A colleague who knows Majumder said he was ‘healthy and happy man because his son had done well in exams’.
The colleague, who did not wish to be named, said the company briefing is hinting at possible suicide.
“That is plain rubbish but it may be useful to pass this as suicide to avoid compensation,” the mariner told Easternlink.
He said if this was not suicide and also not death by disease because Majumder did not seem to have any, a thorough investigation by Indian government agencies or government private detectives was needed to ascertain the real cause of death.
According to the briefing by the shipping company, everything was well till Tuesday evening and Majumder had dinner with other members of the crew around 8 pm before retiring to his cabin, the family sources said.
But he did not turn up for breakfast on the next morning and crew members could not trace him in his cabin.
“Till now, there is no positive news. We have informed all the government agencies including local police station as per protocol for a thorough investigation into the matter,” a member of Majumder’s family said.
“The probe into the incident will be taken up by appropriate authorities. We suspect there is a crime behind his disappearance,” the family member said. It is learnt from some of Majumder’s colleagues on the ship that he had a huge altercation with some Pakistani fellow mariners on the night before he vanished. ” Possibly they stabbed him and threw him into the sea, but the company is now projecting this as suicide to avoid a big compensation,” one fellow mariner said.
His family has lodged a complaint with Netaji Nagar Police Station here.
Majumder’s wife Jayati expressed her disappointment over the way in which the shipping firm officials reacted to the incident.
“We have no clue how Sambit went missing and it is a mystery to us,” the mariner’s family members said.
According to the shipping liner, Dynacom Tankers Management (DTM), appropriate measures have been taken to trace the missing mariner, and Maritime Rescue Coordination Centres in Hong Kong and the Philippines had been given alerts about the incident.
The ship reached Post Daesan in South Korea after a 35 day voyage from Venezuela , where it was loaded with crude oil.
It offloaded and sailed back only after 36 hours at the port during which a ‘very elementary problem ‘ was made by the local authorities.
Later , his body washed ashore on the Taiwan coast. India has a small diplomatic mission in Taipei which has been tasked to follow up on the investigations in Majumder’s demise.