We were contacted by the editorial office with the following appeal:
“The sailors are asking for help!
Good day. We are the m/v KENAN METE crew, which employs people from all over the world (Russians, Ukrainians, Georgians, Indians, Turks), we sail under the Panama flag. We are located in the port of Adabiya, Egypt. On the 25th, we entered the port, eighteen people stopped working due to the fact that the company did not pay our honestly earned money, and we all ran out of contracts, many have been on the ship for about a year. The company promised to pay all wages within two days and buy tickets home, only so that we do not stop loading, we agreed to their terms. But they deceived us and after two days only began to intimidate. Local authorities came in yesterday and threatened to put us in jail if we did not anchor the ship. The company stopped communicating with us. Another vessel of this company, RUSEN METE, is located in Berdyansk and is also forced to stop its work due to large debts. Please help me return to my family in Ukraine. After all, the more people learn about our grief, the more chances that we will not be left here alone. Respectfully yours, Kenan Mete crew.”
The situation is not unique. A lot of seafarers find themselves in similar situations when the shipowner’s company, for one reason or another, is experiencing financial difficulties. These sailors made a standard mistake: they believed the shipowner’s promises and made it possible to unload the ship. Seafarers need to understand firmly: the cargo on board is your insurance. Cargo can have a value much higher than salary arrears and even higher than the value of the vessel itself.
While the cargo is on board, the cargo owner is your ally. He is interested in the fastest unloading of the cargo, he incurs losses for every day of downtime. After the cargo is at the berth, the ship’s crew ceases to interest him. Therefore, the golden rule of a crew whose salary is delayed: do not open the holds and tanks, do not proceed to unloading until the delayed salary and tickets home are in your pocket!
Remember: the main thing for the owner is money. Only the immediate threat of large losses can force him to make concessions and comply with your legal requirements.
The international trade union ITF. can help you. But it should be borne in mind that it also employs local personnel who are subject to various influences.