Obsolete fleet must be rejected

Georgian seafarers  rescued twelve crewmembers of the m/v  Bellatrix (flag of Bolivia, year of build 1978)  including citizens of Russia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Turkey and India. They needed help because of a fire in the engine room.

The incident occurred on April 8,  at 180 nautical miles from Italy  when the ship was  proceeding from Libya to Turkey. The crew of the t/x Bellatrix sent a distress signal  as they could not cope with the fire on their own.  M/v  Arife (flag of Panama) was the fisrt which came to the resque. Fortunately none of the seafarers  were injured, all of them were taken to the Italian port.

The local coast guard reported that the Bellatrix had no cargo on board  and there was no visible contamination in the incident area.

The damaged ship belongs to the Ukrainian company MD Shipping, which has been in the field of view of the Seafarers Union of Russia and the ITF for more than five years. All this time the  SUR and the ITF have repeatedly drawn attention to the technical condition of the old fleet and the complaints of seafarers  about non-payment of wages, but the MD Shipping's  vessels continue to operate and the health and lives of crewmembers are at risk.

While some companies dispose of unprofitable and outdated fleet, others operate it until the rusty coffins do not go to the bottom with the seafarers. This practice is a scourge of modern shipping. Old and unsafe vessels whose owners are not able to maintain their class  had to be scrapped a long time ago, the SUR believes.