Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Freighter Abandoned By Crew After Being Stranded for Three Months

Ukrainians Needed Union Help to Escape Liverpool Abandonment
Shipping News Feature

UK – UKRAINE – Despite the best efforts of ship owners and unions alike the three remaining Ukrainian crew of the freighter Dyckburg, a 5,000 tonne dwt dry cargo carrier flying a flag of convenience from Antigua and Barbuda, gave up their fight this week to rescue anything from the impossible situation they found themselves in after being detained in Liverpool by the Maritime & Coastguard Agency since September.

The case of the three and their seven crewmates who were repatriated with the assistance of the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) before Christmas is unfortunately a sign of the times when rates are low and decent cargoes hard to come by. The three remaining senior crew finally decided that the vessels owners had no means of paying their outstanding wages, effect repairs to the vessel or pay any of the other creditors, some of whom are apparently owed considerable amounts.

Mr Tommy Molloy, the local representative for both the Nautilus union and the ITF said he had been informed that the engine parts needed for the repair have been ordered, but the company concerned has not been paid saying:

“My understanding is that other creditors include the port, the agent, the towing company who brought the vessel into port, and the company who transhipped the cargo, and these are just the creditors associated with the ship’s arrival in Liverpool.

“We don’t believe that the owner of the vessel is uncaring or that the crew has been wilfully abandoned. It seems the owner has done all that is possible to keep the business afloat. The crew of this vessel did all they could to assist, but they cannot be expected to remain unpaid on a detained vessel indefinitely.

“We assisted seven crew with their repatriation before Christmas but at that time the captain, chief officer and chief engineer decided to stay with the ship, putting their trust in the owner to rectify the situation. However, they now have very little food or fuel provisions left and communications from the owner seem to have come to an end, so they have reluctantly decided to give up the ghost.”

Mr Molloy said the ITF will assist the remaining three crew members with their repatriation and would make the necessary arrangements to recover crew wages and costs. He added that the Ukrainian Embassy was contacted by ITF in December when the Ukrainian crewing agent, Marine Pro Services, issued explicit threats to the crew, including blacklisting and financial penalties, if the crew did not withdraw their request for ITF assistance.

Full details of this story can be found HERE.