This was reported by the coordinator of the ITF network in the Arab countries and Iran Mohammed Arrachedi.
For almost 8 months, the Agdash (flag of Malta) remained in the Egyptian port of El Adabiya. The shipowner, the well – known Palmali, stopped paying the crew, consisted of five Russians and nine Azerbaijanis, almost immediately after the beginning of the contracts. As a result, salary debts exceeded 400 000 dollars.
As said by Mohammed Arrachedi, the tanker was seized and sold for debts. It is known that the new owner fully repaid the debt to the seafarers, which accumulated from 2019 to July 2020 inclusive, and agreed with the crew to move the ship to Istanbul. «In the next port of call the company promises to repatriate the seafarers, because many of them have been on board for more than a year, and also to pay off the remaining part of the salary arrears for August and part of September,».
It should be noted that the ITF coordinator for Arab countries is assisting not only to the crew of Agdash. Another vessel of the notorious Palmali, Captain Nagdaliyev, stuck in Beirut «The situation on board the Captain Nagdaliyev is very difficult, there is also a Russian-Azerbaijani crew,»- he said. «There is huge salary arrears, and everything is aggravated by the fact that the ship is not supplied with supplies». Captain Nagdaliyev remains in Lebanon since May, with two Russians and ten Azerbaijanis on board. The seafarers saw with their own eyes the consequences of the explosion in the port of Beirut, from which the tanker received some damage. However, the shipowner never worried about the fate of his crew. The company neither paid the crew a penny, no organized the supply of food, water and fuel.
«Such attitude towards their employees is simply inconceivable. The company abandoned the crew in a foreign country without money, without food, without fuel, without prospects for resolving the conflict. How are they supposed to eat? To charge the phones to contact their families? Not one of our requests – and there were a lot of them! – was responded by the company», - says Mohammed.
The coordinator is even more outraged by the position of the vessel’s flag state, Malta. In his practice, the participation of representatives of the ship's flag administration plays a huge role in resolving labor conflicts on board. However, in the situation with Captain Nagdaliyev, representatives of the Maltese flag do not respond to the problems of seafarers at all.
With the participation of the ITF, food, water and fuel were delivered on board. However, supplies will soon run out.
According to the ITF inspector in Novorossiysk Olga Ananina, the only real option for the crew of Captain Nagdaliyev to return home with a salary is to arrest the ship and then sell it for debt. "This is a mirror image of the situation with the crew of the infamous Rhosus in 2014, when the seafarers fought for a long time with the Lebanese justice for the right to return home. Unfortunately, they were never paid ",- says inspector.
Now all the hopes of the crew of Captain Nagdaliyev are connected with the work of a lawyer, who was found for them by representatives of the ITF. Currently, claims from seafarers are being prepared. «We want crewmembers returned home safely with what they have earned,» concluded Mohammed Arrachedi.