Those Tales of Marine Frauds

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Image used for representational purposes only (Image Courtesy: NAUTILUS INTERNATIONAL)

Sailing onto those ships was one hope that I was sure of. Their assurances seemed so genuine that even after weeks of flat denials, I hoped against hope that may be they will get back and that their so-called tomorrow will certainly see the light of the day.

Whooping, huge or may be more than that is the amount of USD 400 US for a middle class Indian family. I had to skip meals to pay for my education and parents had to slog to provide just enough the needs of survival. Like any other struggling middle class family, all hopes of a better life were pinned onto my success. Hunger for success or rather it was greed that had risen out of my needs – I could not see black to white. Today, I am left begging for jobs, left to struggle for the rest of my life.

The disbalance of supply and demand in the job market, often leads to stories like mine.

I completed my course from IMA (International Maritime Academy, Chennai). Placement was a far cry and I was left without a job after the completion of my course. Bills had to be paid. I took the job as a teacher in a nearby school and was making ends meet until the greed for the much-needed success, of course only financial – took over.

A friend of mine, on knowing the story of how I could not get placed, introduced me to the idea of trying to find a shipping job through an agent. My desperation had blinded my reason. In the already distressed house, I took 400 USD from my parents to pay the agent who had promised job in the shipping industry. On top of this, he even charged a 4% as service charge.

As soon as the money was transferred, some cash while some through bank transfers, they gave me a bond where all the terms and conditions, as discussed, were written. I was elated and told my parents that their son would now become a mariner and earn to give them a decent life. An agent Smith (name changed) from Greens Shipping management (name changed), called me for Visitors International Stay Admission (VISA) to the USA. His convincing talks made me believe that I had bagged a contract and needed to reach Mumbai for my US VISA. As instructed, I informed my parents about my contract and left for Mumbai.

In Mumbai, days passed and became weeks, weeks passed to become months. Every day I called the person concerned to ask if it was time for the interview and the answer was “tomorrow”. A tomorrow that never came. A tomorrow that was just to keep me trapped while they get away. During this time, I got to know that two of my classmates had also paid money to the same agent. There were more like me and this was the moment when I realized – I had been duped.

All the staffers of the company were now nowhere to be found, all had gone under cover. They had duped over 50 people. Most of these 50 had either taken loans, sold houses or jewellery or borrowed from friends and families. Leaving all in a lurch the fraudsters were on the run.

No amount of complaints to the DG SHIPPING or the police has been of any use. They have turned deaf ears to the complaints. Story of Rohit (name changed), warns of the danger that is looming large over the students like him.

Today, when technology had surpassed all limitations and yet the levels of ignorance and negligence never fail to amaze us. Pity, that the authorities concerned are just shrugging off their responsibilities. How many Rohit need to fall before our authorities decide to wake up to the cause?

Sea News Feature, July 24