It has been for more than a month that MV Bourbon (flag of Liberia, IMO: 9588407), detained at the end of July at the request of the crew and relatives of seafarers in connection with non-compliance with the requirements of the Maritime Labor Convention (MLC, 2006), has been anchored at the roadstead of the Port of Nakhodka.
Pyotr Osichansky, Inspector of the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) in the Russia’s Far East, has forwarded the seafarers’ complaints to the Inspectorate of the Port State Control (PSC) in Nakhodka. At that time, the shipowner’s arrears as outstanding wages before the Ukrainian crew was $ 116,000 US. In addition, four crew members required medical assistance, they also insisted on repatriation. In addition, the entire crew did not have employment contracts.
– On this count, the vessel was detained by the representatives of the PSC, having received two 30s for gross violation of the MLC, 2006, – says Petr Osichansky. – The Greek shipowner took a rather strange stance – at first it simply tried to persuade the sailors, then put pressure on the crew, demanding them to go on sailing and promising to pay money at the next port of call and to sign off these four sick seafarers there.
Let it be recalled that in accordance with the MLC, 2006, each notice has a specific code: for example, code 15 requires violation to be rectified before entering the next port, code 17 – violation to be rectified before departure, and code 30 means detention, the most stringent measure. In case of detention, the shipowner has to resolve a complaint before the ship leaves the port, or if it is impossible to do so, he submits to the Harbor Master a plan for resolving a complaint, indicating specific measures and deadlines. This plan is signed by the ship’s flag representative. The Harbor Master reviews the submitted plan and makes a final decision on the possibility for the vessel to leave the port, or requires any additional measures for resolving a complaint. Confirmed overdue wages to seafarers is code 30. So is the absence of individual contracts.
Despite the fact that Bourbon was ready to set off for the next port of call – there were 31,000 tons of cargo on board, – the vessel stood idle.
– The shipowner demonstrated his stubbornness for the whole 30 days, and it is not clear who did worse to whom: by the beginning of August, outstanding wages had grown to 176,500 US dollars. And the seafarers lost all confidence in the shipowner and demanded the repatriation for the entire crew now, – said Pyotr Osichansky. – Charterers from Switzerland were involved in solving the problem, they were more than anyone else interested in the speedy delivery of the cargo to its customers. As a result, the confrontation ended in complete victory of the seafarers. 20 crew members were repatriated. Four of them were signed off for medical reasons and repatriated at the expense of the insurance company, the remaining 16 – at the expense of the shipowner.
The relievers were found in Russia – 14 Russian seafarers arrived on board. At the time of signing off, the outstanding wages to the Ukrainian crew amounted to $ 176,500 US, that is about 13 million rubles.
On 4 August, after eliminating all the deficiencies, the vessel was allowed to leave Nakhodka, and Bourbon headed further to the Philippines.