ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Embassy in Cairo is extending full support to the Pakistani sailors stranded onboard a Kuwaiti cargo ship near the port of Suez, the Foreign Office said.

According to Foreign Office spokesperson Nafees Zakaria, 18 Pakistani sailors, including the captain of the ship, have been stranded onboard MV AKKAZ in the Red Sea near the port of Suez, as the Egyptian government has been in custody of the ship since four months. The ship, which is anchored in Egypt's Suez Canal, was confiscated over non-payment issues.

The Pakistan Embassy in Cairo is in touch with the captain and an embassy officer has also visited the ship to check the welfare of the crew. While awaiting technical assistance and repairs by the owners of the ship, the Pakistani crew members are exploring different options to receive their unpaid dues.

The Pakistan embassy in Cairo has been providing consular and logistic assistance to the crew. The embassy has also made all the requisite arrangements for their repatriation which shall be undertaken as and when decided by the captain and crew members, the Foreign Office said.

The ship, owned by a Kuwaiti company and chartered by a Dutch firm, set sail from Abu Dhabi on August 11, 2016 destined for Port Saidand Alexandria in Egypt and a port in Netherlands, a press release of the Foreign Office issued here on Tuesday said.

The ship reached Suez waters on October 13 but was not allowed to enter Suez Canal due to mechanical failure and expiry of technical license.

It was earlier reported that according to Chief Officer Jameel Jangian, one of the stranded, the Pakistani crew has been restricted to the Egyptian port. The Egyptian government has confiscated the passports of the Pakistani crew members.

Jangian said that neither the relevant shipping company nor Foreign Office officials took satisfactory measures for the release of the stranded crew members.

He appealed to the Pakistani government to pay the dues and take measures for the stranded members’ release from the custody of Egyptian officials.  

Meanwhile, it was learned that Pakistan Foreign Office had contacted the stranded nationals and assured them of the measures put in place for their return to Pakistan.