Russian crew members of m/v LEROS I are promised to be signed off from the vessel shortly

This information was reported  by Petr Osichansky, the Inspector of the International Transport Workers Federation in Vladivostok and the Chairman of SUR Primary Organization in Vladivostok. There are numerous problems on board the ship: in particular, all Russian crew members have not received salaries since at least October, some since August, and many officers have expired contracts. According to Petr Osichansky, recently the operator of m/v/LEROS I (IMO 9145786, the flag of Panama), Cyprus  registered company Sparta Shipmanagement Ltd,  finally has informed the captain Albert Fazliev that seafarers would soon arrive on board to change him and  the Chief Engineer . In addition, he was told that the ship had been sold to another owner and other crew members would be repatriated shortly, and the issue of paying salaries had also been settled.

It should be noted that it was originally assumed that the bulk carrier would be docked for repair in one of the ports of Venezuela at the end of the summer and then continue its normal operation, but this did not happen. Since then the difficulties have begun on board.

At the moment  there are 13 Russians, employed through a Far Eastern crewing agency, and 5 Indonesians on board. According to the captain, Indonesian seafarers get their salary - it is transferred to them by the Indonesian crewing agency. However, problems with wages payment are not all  the crew worries about: there were disruptions with  water and food supplies also. Besides, the  crew  has problems with documents. In addition, according to the captain, the vessel has equipment that requires immediate repair, but since August 2022, applications for technical supply and maintenance have been ignored and no one has dealt with these issues.

Reportedly, the reason for these problems is outstanding financial issues involving  the company- operator Sparta Shipmanagement Ltd, the Liberia-registered owner Balena Marine Inc and agents in the port, which appear to be related to attempts to sell the vessel.

-The captain contacted the operator and the agent to inform about wages non-payments and supply problems, but this had little effect, - Petr Osichansky said. - Then he began to appeal  to other authorities - including our trade union. I, in my turn, advised him to contact the insurance company - this is what seafarers should do first of all when there are symptoms of  abandonment case, which, among other things, according to the Maritime Labor Convention, include non-payment of wages for two or more months, and to demand repatriation. In addition, I recommended the captain to report the situation to the flag state - sometimes they also effectively come to the rescue in such cases.

In recent days the situation seems to have moved off the ground: some food has been delivered on board. ccording to the Captain, the Russian embassy in Caracas helped to arrange that food supply: in response to the request of the crew the diplomats managed to convince the port agent to deliver  some food on board. In addition, the shipowner has announced the forthcoming replacement for the Captain and the Chief Officer, confirmed  settlement of the vessel sale issue and promised to ensure signing off  and payment of salaries to other crew members. According to Petr Osichansky, the trade union continues to keep the situation under control and regularly contacts seafarers. Previously, SUR has already helped one of the crew members to sign off ahead of time and  to receive his money.