There is a secret rule on fleet: if a shipowner doesn't pay wage in full, a seafarer shouldn't be signed off from a ship. If he breaches it, a seafarer risks has nothing.
The crew members of the refrigerated cargo ship ODIN (flag of Russia, IMO 8320834) fell into the trap. According to Pyotr Osichansky, the chairman of its trade union committee, together seafarers came for help into the Vladivostok Primary Trade Union of Seafarers of the Seafarers' Union of Russia.
The story started last year: an employer hasn't been paying to the seafarers even so called white salary, although it wasn't so high. The officially registered rate of wages for motorman is RUR 11,400 and the total amount of his salary, including all rates, is RUR18,696. The wage of the second officer, fixed in the labour contract, is RUR12,150 and the total amount of his salary is RUR19,926. The wage of the captain is RUR14,000 and he is paid just above of RUR22,960. Actually, seafarers are promised to be paid the amount of wages written into the staff list, but no one of the ODIN's crew doesn't receive the money. It is a common practice among the national shipping companies. According to the document, the motorman's wage for the period of berthing at Vladivostok is RUR40,000, at Busan - RUR50,000 and for the period of voyage - RUR70,000-80,000. The salary of the second officer for the period of berthing at the Port of Vladivostok is RUR45,000; during the berthing at Busan - RUR60,000; and for period of voyage - RUR100,000-110,000. The company promises to pay the captain: RUR80,000 - for the period of berthing at Vladivostok; RUR95,000 - for period of berthing at Busan; and RUR200,000-250,000 - for period of voyage.
As a result, on April 26, 2019 the Port State Control at Busan detained the Russian ship due to violation of the MLC terms in part of unpaid wages. The Vladivostok-based shipowner referring to the financial difficulties asked the crew to wait for payments and agreed with them the two-stage payments: the first part he transferred immediately, and another part he promised to pay in May. On May 14, 2019 eight seafarers returned to Vladivostok after receiving the letters of guarantees confirming the $1,000 payments. Currently, the trade union committee considers the ways to resolve the problems. The main challenge is that the staff list, unlike the labour contract, is the document that can't be received by the Russian court implicitly, therefore it is hard to obtain the promised wages fixed in the staff list. For information, the company has been made all necessary payments to the Pension Fund of the Russian Federation.
Pyotr Osichansky, the chairman at the SUR's Primary Trade Union Organization of Seafarers in Vladivostok, said that it is not the first time when the m/v ODIN comes into the SUR's focus: the seafarers, who have the wage debts on this vessel, made complaints against their employer for last 10 years. The longstanding experience of working with the crews of the reefer, shows that people can get a real assistance only in courts. The shipowner seems to face the same fate again - he will come before the Russian justice.