“In difficult times, the support of the trade union helped a lot.”
Alexander Rostovtsev, the former captain of the tanker Stolt Groenland came to the office of the Far Eastern Territorial Organization of the Seafarers’ Union of Russia to personally express his deep gratitude to the Seafarers’ Union of Russia and the International Transport Workers' Federation for the help and support he had received while he was staying in South Korea due to the long court trial related to the explosion on board his vessel.
Recall that on September 28, 2019, an explosion and a fire started on board the chemical tanker Stolt Groenland berthed at the port of Ulsan. The reason was an increase in the temperature of the transported cargo - styrene monomer. There were 25 crew members on board, ten of them were Russians, the rest were Filipinos. The crew tried to extinguish the fire, but due to its rapid spread, the captain decided to abandon the vessel. The crew acted competently and well-coordinated, they lowered the boat and abandoned the vessel. As is known, coastal firefighting teams extinguished the fire a few hours after it started.
The court trial lasted almost three years. All that time, the Captain, the Chief Officer and the 3d Officer were remaining hostages of circumstance. Their situation worsened with the announcement of the coronavirus pandemic and the subsequent restrictions: the seafarers could not even meet with relatives. While under arrest in a foreign country, Alexander Rostovtsev wrote to the FETO SUR with a request for help.
Thanks to the operational work of the SUR International Affairs Department, which maintained direct contact with the ITF and lawyers, it was possible to intervene in the trial in time: as a result, the captain and his colleagues were released.
Alexander Rostovtsev handed over to the Seafarers' Union of Russia a painting he had bought in the Netherlands and added, that the trade union's support helped him a lot in difficult times.
Photo: FETO SUR / painting – the present from the captain