A Leaking Ship Full Of Hazardous Sulfur Cargo Sent An Email With ‘SOS’ In The Subject

The sea is quite intimidating if you think about how huge it is and if the contact with the land is broken, you are on your own in that giant body of water. There was a situation in the sea where some sailors were stuck aboard a damaged ship. They sent panic-stricken emails for help, writing that an “urgent solution is needed before it’s too late” in a message with “SOS” in the subject line.

“THE LIFE OF THE PEOPLE ARE IN REAL DANGER,” crew members wrote in an October email obtained by the Wall Street Journal, trying with no avail to get help from Sierra Leone, the country whose flag flew over their ship.

The crew was stuck in the sea on their damaged ship. They were running out of food and the only things that were left to eat were a few potatoes and limes. They had started to fish so they could have something to eat. Their cargo of sulfur was getting damaged by the seawater. It was giving off dirty fumes and contaminating the vessel’s diesel fuel. To make matters worse, the ship’s owner stopped paying insurance and employee wages and stopped responding to messages asking for help.

Wall Street Journal states that all cargo ships have to display a flag of a country on their ships. It doesn’t necessarily have to be the flag of their country. The flag is to summon help from the country if an emergency occurs. Crews or shipowners pay flag fees to maritime offices in their chosen country.

The MV Haj Abdullah’s crew were flying the flag of Sierra Leone. According to WSJ, the Sierra Leone Maritime Administration regulates hundreds of ships transporting billions of dollars of cargo with the help of a management company. it is often noted that when the ships display the flag of smaller countries, these countries do not have enough resources to help them completely. This is what happened with them.

A group of men standing on the deck of a the MV Jinan cargo ship, with supplies on deck.

Fortunately, the Haj Abdullah finally made it back to port after months of pleading for help. However, they were not the first ones to go through something like this.

The WSJ reports that more than 1,000 sailors worldwide are currently stuck on ships without pay. The reasons for this are still unclear. However, it is sure that these incidents put the lives of sailors at risk. Along with that, cargo gets damaged too. Rescue systems must be better than a couple of SOS emails or newspapers.

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