Saturday 29 July 2017

Port comes to aid of stranded crew


The ship Linda berthed in Dundalk Port.
The ship Linda berthed in Dundalk Port.

Margaret RODDY

EIGHT crew members left stranded on board their 1,000-tonne vessel for almost a month have been depending on the generosity of the Dundalk port authorities after their food and money ran out.

The crew of the MV Linda were left without money for food after their ship docked in Dundalk port with a cargo of timber at the end of July. They have told the International Transport Federation they are owed $60,000 in wages by the ship's owners, Lativian company Forestry Shipping.

'There is no food, no water, no toiletries and no oil for the engines on the ship,' says Ken Fleming of the IFT.

There are concerns over the health of the Russian captain, who has claimed that he has suffered a stroke, and Mr Fleming said that he will be flown home with money provided by Mission for Seafarers. The two other officers are Russian, and the five crewmen are Ukrainian.

Mr Fleming has accused the company of 'abandoning' the ship and her crew in Dundalk after it was inspected by Port State Control, which identified breaches of safety regulations.

'The crew haven't been paid and one of them is owed over six months wages.'

He said that two other ships owned by company have been detained by the ITF in Holland for non-payment of wages.

As the crew, who range in age from 30 to their mid-50s, ran desperately low in supplies of food, fresh water and toiletries, Mr Fleming said he was negotiating with immigration authorities to allow the men leave the ship to get emergency assistance from the Department of Social Welfare.

He praised the actions of Dundalk Harbour Master Captain Frank Allen for coming to the aid of the crew. Captain Allen said that the port authorities were trying to assist the crew, giving them with money to buy food after their supplies ran out.

' The Linda has been bringing timber into Dundalk from the Baltic for the past 10 years,' he recalled.

He said that when some 'minor defects' were discovered in the ship, the harbour authorities had assisted the crew in repairing them, but the ship's owners don't seem to have the money to pay to have her inspected in order for her to be allowed to go back out to sea.

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