Thursday, 17 September 2009

Half a million dollars of wages owed to abandoned crew

Fifteen crewmembers of the Panamanian registered reefer ship ‘Remora 1’ have been finally repatriated from Dakhla in Morocco nine months after their ordeal began; however, they are collectively owed a total of US$483,936 in wages. The Remora 1 was abandoned by Norwegian owners Atlantic RTI and the ship’s Dutch bankers, Bank HBU; there were fourteen Ghanaian and one Ukrainian crew on board at the time. The owners refused to pay for food, water or fuel or to cover repatriation costs. Nine months after their nightmare began, the local Union Syndicat des Capitanes et Officers de la Marine Marchande Affilie a La CDT (SCOMM CDT) coordinated with maritime and government authorities to get permission for the crew’s repatriation. The Ghanaian consulate in Casablanca paid for the Ghanaians trip home and the Ukrainian crewmember’s family paid for his repatriation. Finlay McIntosh, ITF maritime operations, says, “Unfortunately the crewmembers are still owed wages totalling almost US$500,000. The local union is looking at ways to ensure that the seafarers’ claim is recognised once a decision has been made regarding the vessel.”



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