Pakistani Sailors Stranded in Red Sea Forced to Consume ‘Diesel, Sea Water’ for Survival

The sailors are stranded on a tugboat off the coast of Jeddah in Saudi waters since 17 days.

Pakistani sailors are stranded on a tugboat named ‘Mehr’ off the coast of Jeddah in Saudi waters for about 17 days. After running out of rations these men had been consuming fuel from the ship’s engine until rations arrived.

Since the sailors cannot leave the wrecked boat due to legal issues, the Pakistani government delivered relief supplies to these men at sea.

These six Pakistani sailors are stranded in the Red Sea but cannot leave the ship as they are owed eight months’ salary. Leaving the ship could potentially cause legal problems for them.


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Captain Muhammad Manzoor Saeed told BBC Urdu that after receiving rations and medical aid, they were a little better. The ship that brought them supplies could have rescued the sailors. However, they wanted the wrecked ship to be taken with them to the shores of Jeddah.

“These are poor and hardworking people. If the ship is not delivered to shore, their salaries may be cut and more problems may arise for them, … If they leave the ship and come ashore and the ship is damaged, they could potentially be held liable, which could lead to legal issues for them. It’s the sailors’ responsibility to get the ship to safety.”

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Asad-ur-Rehman, the son of the ship’s Vice-Captain Dildar Ahmed said the crew have been provided one month’s ration, water and first aid.

He had contacted his father via satellite phone. He informed him that another ship would be sent to help them soon.

Sailor’s Health

Speaking to the BBC Urdu via satellite phone, the ship’s vice-captain said they had been drinking seawater before rations arrived. He said they had to drink seawater, and were forced to ‘boil rice in water mixed with diesel and petrol‘.

“Our situation is so bad that when our throat is completely dry, then diesel and petrol are mixed in the engines to draw water or take water from the sea. We boil it and then filter it with a cloth and drink it so that the throat becomes wet. … When we are hungry, we boil rice with the same water. We eat some of it, then when the vomiting starts, we give up.”

All the men are sick from consuming fuel and seawater and cannot speak.


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Dildar Ahmed says he can no longer steer the ship in any direction. The ship is now at the mercy of the sea.

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“Wherever the waves of the sea take the ship, the ship turns in that direction. We are afraid that the waves will turn it upside down,” he said.

He informed that first one of the ship’s engines broke down, then another. Followed by the ship’s steering hydraulic system.

The ship was being taken from Oman to Egypt. The other five crew members, include Salamuddin, Abdul Ghani, Mohammad Ismail, Muhammad Shafi, and Ali Mohammad.

Written by Ummara Sheraz

Entertainment & culture writer at ProPakistani/Lens. Occasionally dabbles in other news.

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