Families of all 25 Indian sailors aboard Panamian vessel MV Rezzak, which went missing in the Black Sea, have been issued letters by the vessel's manning agent stating that the crew are feared dead.
Pelican Marine, the agency which hired the crew for the vessel, has issued letters to the next of kin of all the crew members, the firm's director said.
"The letters have been issued as a matter of regular procedure and it in no way indicates that search and investigations have been abandoned," Santhosh Biswas, director of Pelican Marine told PTI.
The Directorate General of Shipping and Panamian officials are conducting investigations into the missing ship and some results should emerge in the coming days, he said.
MV Rezzak, which was carrying steel billets in its cargo, went missing on February 18 in the Black Sea, near Turkey.
The ship, owned by a Turkish firm but registered in Panama, left Russia for Turkey on February 17.
An Indian official had been flown to Turkey for further investigations and authorities in Ankara initiated search operations for the second time after a request from New Delhi.
"The Protection and Indemnity Club which has carried out its investigations in the matter has asked us to issue the letter as a matter of procedure. The letter has been issued to the next of kin of all crew members in the event of having to provide compensation to them," Biswas said.
The ship is feared to have sunk due to inclement weather it encountered during its voyage from Russia to Turkey.