25May2019Headlines:

Incredible true stories of a sailor’s wife

In one of our previous article we have been discussing about the sacrifices that a sailor’s wife makes in order to ensure that her husband can do his duty as a sailor. We have tried to understand the ups and downs in the life of a sailor’s wife. It is true that a wife has to do a lot of sacrifices for her husband. However,  in the case of a sailor’s wife the sacrifices are much bigger and courageous. We will discuss the stories of some incredible women who have the most heroic tales to say who has been a part of some amazing journeys. The two particular stories that we are going to discuss about are of Mrs Aditi James and wives of Captain Jasprit Chawla and Chief Officer Syam Chetan.

Mrs James Story

Captain Sunil James was a merchant navy officer. He was the captain of an oil tanker called the Ocean Centurion. His ship was attacked on 16th July by pirates. They were robbed of their personal belongings. Three of the crew members were killed and Captain Sunil James was taken hostage.

Only in September the news was covered by the Indian media. His wife Mrs Aditi James was completely taken aback by the news. She decided to look for her husband and get him back safe. He was held captive by the authorities of Togo which is a small country in North Western part of Africa. He had somehow managed to disembark the ship that was under the control of the pirates for a few months. He just wanted to report about what happened to the ship to the naval authorities. He was held captive for no reason. He was kept in the Togo prison with criminals who had terrible records. He would get very little food to eat and most of it would not be edible. He was forced to stay in a cell with 80 prisoners. These cells were actually meant for only 20.

His wife Mrs Aditi James fought very hard for his release. The challenges were many. The Indian government does not have an embassy in Togo that made the situation even more difficult. The government had to approach the Togo government through Ghana’s prime minister. It was assured that the sailors would be soon returned to India but the process was very slow.

It was during this time that Mrs Aditi James lost her only child Vivan. He was only 11 month old and died of septicaemia. The family refused to do the last rites of the child. Mrs Aditi James said that she would do the last rites only when her husband comes back. The body of the child was kept in the morgue in Mumbai. After a long battle Captain Sunil James was finally released and he returned back to India to do the final rites of the child.

Mrs Chawla & Mrs Chetan Story

We will now move on to the next story. This one is about the wife of Captain Jasprit Chawla and chief officer Shyam Chetan. They both were working in a Hong King super tanker. They were jailed by a court in South Korea. They were held responsible for an oil spill that happened in the ocean.

The unfortunate incident happened when the vessel Hebei Spirit was carrying crude oil. It was hit by a crane barge that was owned by Samsung. It led to a lot of oil spill in the Yellow sea. Both Captain Jasprit Chawla and Officer Shyam Chetan were jailed as they were found negligent of their duties. It was actually not completely their fault. It was to a great extent an unfortunate accident that could not have been avoided at any cost.

They were jailed in inhuman conditions. No food and were made to stay in very small rooms in freezing cold. His wife Gurpreet Kaur said that when she would talk to him over phone he would say that “everything is fine” but she knew that it wasn’t. Both of them had to fight a lot of humiliation and the experience was a terrible one as they had to fight in a language they had no idea about.

Officer Chetan’s wife Preetha says that she had no idea what was going on and how long this would take. She also had no idea when he would be able to come back and if they would ever be able to live a normal life. The families and the shipping authorities continued their fight against this injustice done.

They also looked for a lot of international support. Finally both of them were released from the jail.  They were in captivity for a long 18 months. They both say that the experience was a horrible one and at times they thought they will never be able to come out of the ordeal. However, the case is still going on and it will take some time for the whole matter to be sorted out completely.

Many ships go missing in the sea every year. A lot of the ships are attacked by the pirates and hostages are taken. Many sailors across the world lose their lives. It is true that many professions across the world have the risk to life. The job of the sailor is not the only one. Inspite of these risks young men take up these jobs because they have a passion for this job and also for the adventurous life this job has. Behind these sailors their wives and families stand like a strong pillar of support. We have discussed a few examples here in this article.

These are indeed some really interesting stories that we have to tell about the life of a sailor’s wife. We hope that you must have found these stories equally inspiring. Thre are more such stories from across the world. These women are indeed brave and they have fought many hardships. The risks in the job of a sailor are many and there are no doubts about that. It is the determination of these women to stand behind their husbands that must be praised.

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