Crew on Abandoned Ship Pens Desperate Letter for Help

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The U.K.-based charity has published a copy of a desperate letter seeking help from the remaining Indian seafarers on the Hong Kong flagged vessel abandoned in China by the owner.

Letter for desperate help:

The letter was sent to the charity as well as several other welfare organizations, including the ITF.

The crew of the abandoned ship are stranded on board since November last year, were forced to agree to sign-off the vessel in March, but with only one month’s wages and no firm assurance of more.

Stranded in China:

The crew have been at anchor off Zhoushan, China, awaiting a final sign off from their existing employment contracts and payment in full of their outstanding wages.

The amounts owed range from $34,799 to $743 and, in total, amount to $148,465.25.

MLC rules ignored:

HRAS calls for immediate repatriation and settling of all outstanding wages to the remaining 13 Indian crew members noting that the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) 2006 was amended in 2014 to implement requirements for financial security to cater for support to abandoned seafarers and safeguarding up to four months owed contractual wages and entitlements.  The amendment came into force on January 18, 2017.

The 2014 amendments require that a financial security system be put in place to ensure that shipowners ensure compensation to seafarers and their families in the event of abandonment.

Excerpts from the letter:

No wonder that everyone speak and give long speech on seminars for seafarer welfare, humanity, so requesting please show some actions too, save your brother’s

~ since five months we have received only one month of wages, we are surrounded by and facing multitude of problem.

~ we are unable to look after our family basic’s need.

~ we are unable to pay our Debts / Bank emi’s /Bills. Creditors are threatening and misbehaving with our family (women, childs, old aged parents) they are in fear, stress and tension.

~ we crew onboard also don’t have any cash to buy recharge cards for calling home regularly, we are managing by asking favor from yard watchkeepers, before they recharge our phone too but now they also not doing too in credit, we are managing by using HOTSPOT of yard watchkeepers. We assure them we will clear all dues on receiving of travel allowance of 200 usd before sign off.

~ Depression, Tension & Extreme Mental stress we are facing, when we call home we come to know that they are facing a lot due to us, because we trusted the owner and management and joined his vessel.

~ we are helpless and unable to even manage Basic Needs of our FAMILY – FOOD / SHELTER – HOUSE RENT / MEDICAL / EDUCATION. Landlord’s and Creditors are threatening and misbehaving. We are unable to pay school fees of our children their future is getting ruined too, our old aged parents need medical treatment we don’t have any money for managing.

~ we requesting you all arrange our sign off immediately we cannot afford a single day of delay, so many lives are suffering due to such problems. We can manage by taking next job assignment, so please sign off us at urgent.

~ it’s been more than one month as crew agreed as per owner term’s, he is unable to relieve us, we are still on board and safely manned his vessel, so he need to pay one more month wages to crew Immediately to save the life of crew and crew family.

~ we kept back in ship due to safe Manning, as owner is unable to send us home, Due to crew only this vessel complying with international regulations of safe Manning, he need to pay crew for that, we are entitled to get our full wages up to sign off.

~ we are always cooperating, so please come up with some positive outcome at earliest, because we have to look for our safety too. Arrange sign off immediately.

DON’T FORCE US TO LEAVE VESSEL BECAUSE OWNER WILL BE ONLY RESPONSIBLE FOR ALL THE SITUATION AND PLAN ARISE YET. CREW IS JUST LOOKING FOR SAFETY, SO BETTER SEND US HOME BEFORE ANY MIS-HAPPENING OUR MENTAL LEVEL IS NOT GOOD WE ARE UNDER DEPRESSION, TENSION, STRESS.

HOPE YOU ALL UNDERSTAND AND ARRANGE OUR REPARATIONS.

Conclusion:

Hope the concerned officials take notice of the issue and free the crew members from the abandoned ship. It also advised to take strict action against the owners for abandoning the crew leaving them to fend for themselves and over non-payment of wages.

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Source: Human Rights at Sea

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