According to the Russian part of the crew, the refrigerated vessel is currently in the port of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria in the Canary Islands. Earlier, Olga Ananina, an ITF inspector in Novorossiysk, was also asked for help by a cook from the Donbass, who last year served on board Frio V (IMO 8216722, flag of Cameroon, built in 1984) and still has not received a penny.
According to the crewmembers that are currently on the ship, the employer has one answer to all their requests to pay wages: there is no money. The fact that, the families of the seafarers have to survive without support, is not taken into account. Some seafarers, who asked for discharging in early February 2021, are waiting for replacement and repayment of debt to this day. In early March, the entire team asked for repatriation, but there are still no results.
Note that according to Equasis, the ship belongs to the shipowner Atlantic Trawlers LTD from Belize. However, the seafarers reported that its operator is Oceanice LTD, a subsidiary of Pescatlant LTD. The latter is financially and operationally subordinates to the Russian company Sea Energy Shipping Co Ltd., both have offices in St. Petersburg. It’s not the first time the union has been dealing with the claims from the crews serving on board the company’s vessels. In 2017, the crew of the m/v Star SKN-151 operated by the Pescatlant LTD, was repatriated without payment of the wage, so the use of free labor seems to be the company’s long-standing tradition. In addition, as reported by the local ITF inspector Gonzalo Galan, recently the company began to hire cadets for the repair of ships on a salary of $200. One of them after the repatriation said that he even had to pay $1,200 n order to get this job.
Gonzalo Galan is currently dealing with the FRIO V crew issues. According to him, the shipowner, who is in a difficult financial situation, has already provided a schedule for debt repayment and repatriation. It also included the signed off cook, but, as per inspector, first of all the debts will be repaid to those who are on board now. But so far, there is no information about payments to the crew, and the seafarers believe that the company is lying and is not going to reimburse anything. The ITF inspector also appealed to the Honorary Consul of the Russian Federation, discussed the case with the P&I club, and also contacted the International Maritime Organization about inclusion the vessel in the Abandoned vessel’s database.
«Our hope was for PSC, but they can only affect the company when the ship leaves the port, and Frio V is currently under repair and will remain in this state for a long time,»- the crewmembers said in their letter.
According to reports, there are at least three Russian seafarers on board.
«We will closely monitor the development of events. While there is hope that the company will fulfill its promises to the seafarers. However, unfortunately, the current situation is not surprising. The Canaries are historically a major fishing hub for old vessels, and the working conditions on which leave much to be desired. There are even a number of companies that are co-owned by our compatriots. They also hire our seafarers on beggarly salaries, often money is not paid, ships are arrested – this is a story that has no end. Therefore, it is necessary to be very careful when signing contracts with such shipowners, especially if in the past they have already been noticed in non-payments, » - said Olga Ananina.
Note that according to some sources, Pescatlant LTD operates a number of subsidiaries: Pescador, Atlantic Trawlers, Baltic Atlant Shipping. Among its other vessels: Archimedes (IMO 7610426, shipowner Baltic Atlant Shipping), Aristotle (IMO 8038182, shipowner Pescador), Frio Seven (IMO 8215936), Star Skn 151 (IMO 8136300), Galileo (IMO 8721088). The last three vessels are owned by Pescatlant. According to Gonzalo Galan, he is now finding out how things are going on board of Galileo, also located in the port