The Russian crew have worked on board for seven months, but the shipowner Pescatlant Ltd does not pay them their salaries. The issue of repatriation is also pressing one. As it became known, the seafarers were recruited for work on board of fishing vessel Aristotle (IMO 8038182, flag of Cameroon) through the Sevastopol-based crewing agency ICG Ltd. The crew turned to the International Transport Workers' Federation for help.
According to the steward Irina Timchuk, the vessel is staying at Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain. Aristotle came to the Canary Islands for repair. The company assured that fishing operations would begin in two months, but the vessel's staying at dock delayed. When it became clear that there would be no work as such, the crew were promised to arrange repatriation. They were supposed to be sent home in early July, but the crew of 20 Russians are still on board up to now.
According to Irina Timchuk, there are 25 people on board in total, of which only seven have current contracts. The rest, whose contracts expired on May 16, were changed to the status of passengers.
- We have to help the crew members who work for full-time payment, but why should we do it for free? - Irina Timchuk wonders.
Meanwhile, according to the steward, the company promises to resolve the situation within the next 1.5-2 weeks. However, the seafarers do not believe it nor do they believe that they will be paid off the debt. By the way, the backwages stand at $50, 000.
So far, the only offer from the employer was that each seafarer would be given $ 1,000 and sent home. The crew aren't happy with such conditions. And they have every reason for that.
Irina Timchuk says that no one wants to leave the vessel without being paid as the company is known for not to pay money to those seafarers who has agreed to signed off with debt. She herself explains that the shipowner has not yet paid her for the contract from four years ago. In addition, two crew members of M/V Aristotle repatriated earlier without paying have not received the final payment still. Therefore, Irina Timchuk stands her ground: she will not return home without money.
The steward of M/V Aristotle adds that provisions on board is running out, as evidenced by the empty food-storing shelves on board. She notes that as for food provision the employer was also dishonest with the crew: daily food allowance stipulated in the contract was $7, but in fact it was just about $2.