Hope for Varun crew

India’s Varun Shipping has pledged to bring home 16 crew stuck on an LPG carrier off the UAE for a year.

Managing director Yudhishthir Khatau told Gulf News that the 36,000–cbm Maharishi Devatreya (built 1990) will enter the Dubai World Drydocks shipyard in mid-July for repairs, and the crew will be relieved.

The captain, Aninda Sengupta, said that they had been promised that the ship would enter the drydocks in December 2013.

The men have not been able to go ashore due to a lack of visas.

Khatau said: “Maharishi Devatreya is safely anchored within the port limits of Port Rashid.”

He added that the company has paid around $10m towards all crew salaries across its fleet in the last six months “as per our agreed schedule with stakeholders and regulators”.

 “I am sure the [captain] wants to go home and we are doing are best to get people to leave at the right time, but it is a situation where you have to allow the vessel to go to the drydocks,” he said.

Khatau blamed “difficult financial times” for the shipping industry over the last two years, but said the LPG fleet was being reactivated.

Two ships have completed repairs in Dubai and are ready to sail. Four more are in drydock in Dubai, with another two waiting to dock.