Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Stranded Tanker Sees Welcome Relief Thanks To Unions

Wages and Food Arrive at Anchorage off Hull At Last
Shipping News Feature

UK – Last week saw the resolution, hopefully a permanent one, to a problem that seems to become more widespread as difficult economic conditions prevail. The Liberian registered tanker Leon, anchored outside the Port of Hull since 20th April together with her Russian and Ukrainian crew, finally saw relief as outstanding wages and a delivery of much needed food arrived onboard following the intervention of the ITF (International Transport Workers’ Federation).

The crew had refused to sail the vessel until the Greek owners, Roswell Tanker Corporation of Athens, had paid all outstanding wages owed from January and had provided food and water to replenish exhausted supplies. Union representation in the form of Nautilus International/ITF Inspector Tommy Molloy oversaw the arrival of food provisions by tugboat and to verify wages had been paid.

Eleven of the crew had originally asked to be repatriated to their homes from Hull. But following the arrival of the supplies six of the crew agreed to stay on board until the next port, believed to be Kaliningrad in Russia. Five crew were replaced including the Chief Engineer who should have been repatriated on medical grounds following a visit to the doctor in Poland. Mr Molloy commented:

“He had complained of constant stomach pains on 1st April and saw the doctor on 4th April. Documentation shows that the doctor had recommended he should return home to Kiev for prolonged treatment. But the company neglected to repatriate him from Poland and continued to ignore the situation when the vessel arrived at Hull. Hopefully, he will now get the treatment he ought to have had a month ago.”

The ITF regretted the need to get involved and said although this can be considered a successful outcome the ITF will keep a watchful eye on the vessel and the wellbeing of the crew and Mr Molloy continued:

“The crew had not eaten any fresh food – such as fruit, vegetables, meat, fish, and so on – for a number of weeks and were left with no option but to seek our assistance to have this rectified. Two surveyors attended the vessel on behalf of the Liberian Flag Administration and we await the outcome of their report with interest.

“The fact that the ITF has to get involved to ensure that a company like this meets its basic obligations towards its crew is appalling. We should not have to remind them of the right of seafarers to receive their wages at the end of every month and the right to decent quality food. I genuinely hope we don’t have to remind them again.”

Photo:- The supply of provisions is hoisted aboard the tanker on the 3rd May.