'Hell': Sailors stranded near shore for four years

"We see hell in this last voyage."

Indian engineer Vinay Kumar is one of five sailors stranded at sea in the Gulf, aboard the abandoned oil tanker MT Iba.

It's tantalizingly close to shore, but they can't set foot on dry land.

Thirty-two months ago, the tanker's owner, Alco Shipping, ran into financial trouble and stopped paying their wages.

And a regular seafaring job turned into a nightmare.

[KUMAR saying:]"One man, he responsible for everything. He never support us. He no thinking about another family. We are for him, like slave. We are put here, after finish, he forget us."

The men, who set off on their voyage four years ago, rely on donations from charities they contacted for food and other essentials.

One of these is The Mission to Seafarers, which is also mediating between them and Alco Shipping.

Regional director Andy Bowerman says the men are stuck on board until a deal is struck.

"Therefore they get into a stalemate because the only collateral that the crew have is the vessel. The second issue that the crew have is it's illegal for them to physically abandon the ship. If they physically abandon the ship and come to port in their life craft, then they too could be detained as illegal entrants. They don't have visas for the UAE, their passports are currently with the company."

The men are owed about $230,000 altogether, Bowerman says, but the company has offered to settle for roughly two-thirds that sum.

It's not clear whether the sailors are planning to accept the offer.