Indian seafarers from m/v Vega 1 repatriated from Russia
Indian seafarers from the abandoned ship Vega 1 (flag of Panama, IMO 8516756), which stuck in the port of Tuapse, finally returned home after five months on board The first attempt to leave the vessel in May was failed due to coronavirus restrictions. Upon arrival they immediately contacted the ITF inspector in Novorossiysk, Olga Ananina, thanked her for help and informed that everything was in order. "Now they are concerned only with one question – how to get the remaining unpaid wages," she added.
Recall that the port state control (PSC) detained the vessel Vega 1 on January 31, 2020 because of debts to seafarers as well as technical deficiencies found during the inspection. According to Olga Ananina, the employer, Fora Maritime Corporation, delayed about $60 000 and stopped supplying food on board.
At first, the situation on board was stabilized in March, when the Seafarers Union of Russia allocated funds for the purchase of food and water for the crew, and at the end of April the ITF as well provided money for supplying. The issue of debt repayment has also been partially resolved. Thus, the responsibility of the shipowner was assumed by the P&I club Hanseatic. However, the payment in amount of $42000 was made only for four months, according to the insurance certificate required by the MLC.
From the very beginning, the Indian Embassy was also involved in the process of providing assistance to its citizens. As part of the assistance to compatriots who got into a difficult situation abroad, the seafarers were planned to be taken out on an evacuation flight. On May 28, the tickets were booked to Moscow, but everything went wrong because of the Russian authorities ' demand to pass a 14-day quarantine on arrival in the capital. It was not until July 3 that they finally flew to Delhi.
Unfortunately, other crewmembers still remain on board of Vega 1 without any certainty. How to achieve a full settlement of the ship's crew’s claim is still unclear. Perhaps, the vessel will be arrested for debt.