Said Al Gamboosi, a 45-year-old Omani fisherman in Jalan, has become a hero overnight after he saved the lives of 11 Indian sailors, rescuing them from a sinking cargo vessel on Saturday morning.
“It was a usual day for me. Early morning, when we went to the inner sea, at around 7am, we heard people shouting for help. It was a little dark. Visibility was low. However, we found a huge cargo vessel sinking, with cars on board.
“We rushed to the scene in our boat,” Gamboosi told the Times of Oman.
However, on reaching the spot, Gamboosi and his friends on three boats, with four people on board each one, realised that they alone would not be able to rescue the sailors and salvage the vessel. So, they called their friends for help.
“Soon, our friends also reached. By that time, the sailors from the vessel had jumped into the water, wearing safety jackets. With the help of our friends, we were able to pull out the sailors from the water. As it was biting cold, the sailors were shivering. We gave them blankets and arranged food for them,” Gamboosi added.
Even after rescuing the sailors, Gamboosi and his friends continued trying to salvage the vessel until 11am. However, they realised that it would not be possible, they informed the police and returned to the shore.
The vessel was heading to Yemen from Sharjah with 69 cars, food items, cooking oil and tyres when it landed in troubled waters in Jalan, near Sur.
According to Abdullah Juma, the captain of the vessel, at around 2am, their vessel was hit by something while sailing.
As it was dark, they couldn’t check what it was. They waited until early morning and at around 5am, two of their crew took a dive into the water to check what had happened. By then, water had started entering the vessel.
The 11 Indian sailors, from Gujarat, are now being accommodated in Jalan.
Pravasi Jalan, an Indian social organisation, is coordinating with the local authorities and the Indian embassy to repatriate the stranded sailors back home.
“We are in touch with local authorities. Most probably, in two days, the Indian sailors will be able to fly back home,” a Pravasi Jalan member added.
On July 22, a vessel carrying plastic had sunk off the Masirah Island, with thousands of plastic items washing ashore near the beach where turtles were nesting on the island.
The 800-tonne cargo vessel had 17 sailors on board and they were transporting livestock to Sharjah, the United Arab Emirates, from Gujarat, India.
Their next planned voyage involved loading food from Sharjah and sailing to a port in Somalia. Harsh weather in the Indian Ocean caused damage to the ship, causing it to take in water. The crew attempted to bail out the ship, but was unable to keep up with the fast flowing seawater.
By Rejimon K
© Muscat Media Group