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Thursday, Feb 21, 2002

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Seamen's union opposes SCI privatisation move

Our Bureau

CHENNAI, Feb. 20

THE Forward Seamen's Union of India has announced a strike on Friday to protest against the move to privatise Shipping Corporation of India Ltd.

The General Secretary of the Seamen's Union, Mr Sadhan Kanjilal, told presspersons here on Wednesday that the move to privatise SCI was not a `fair deal'.

On Friday, the employees on vessels other than those at sea will go on a strike. All the seamen on board the company's ships at various ports worldwide will strike work.

The company had been maintaining consistent profits, and since the 1960s it had paid a dividend of Rs 8,000 crore to the Government. Last year alone, its profit was Rs 402 crore and it had announced a 30-per cent dividend. The Government held 82 per cent stake in SCI and planned to divest 51 per cent at around Rs 800 crore, or less, Mr Kanjilal said.

Companies such as Reliance, Maersk and Great Eastern Shipping, and one Indonesian company are in the fray to buy SCI.

The SCI is a well-diversified one — an uncommon feature in the industry. It has a fleet of 116 vessels, which include container carriers, dry bulk carriers, crude oil tankers, chemical carriers, LPG/ammonia carriers, general cargo liners, passenger-cum-cellular vessels and timber carriers, and offshore supply vessels.

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