Seventeen Pakistani workers are reportedly stuck in a ship anchored in Egypt's Suez Canal as the Egyptian government has confiscated their passports.
Chief Officer Jameel Jangian, one of those stranded on the ship, told DawnNews that the shipping corporation, based in Kuwait, has not paid the workers their dues, which amounts to around Rs20 million.
He further claimed the shipping corporation also did not pay the Egyptian government to process their travel documents, which is why it has confiscated their passports.
"We are not allowed to disembark the ship and go on the shore for anything," Jangian said.
Jangian also told Dawn.com that he and his team need support in getting their pending salaries before they are repatriated to help them "survive back home".
Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Nafees Zakaria told Dawn.com that the government of Pakistan has been in close contact with the stranded sailors and that a ministry official also met them in person recently.
"We have arranged everything that is needed to repatriate [the stranded captain and crew]," he said, adding the ministry is cooperating with the sailors to its fullest in terms of facilitating the repatriation process.
The workers have been stuck in the ship anchored in the sea, away from the seashore, for more than four months now. They are running out of food and other daily need supplies.
Six of the Pakistani workers are critically unwell as they do not have access to medical treatment.
The workers left Karachi on Aug 8 and reached Kuwait via Dubai. They boarded the the ship in Kuwait and sailed to Egypt, where they are currently stranded since Oct 14.