Ten Ukrainian sailors aboard of ship in Tartus seaport in Syria can’t return back to Ukraine because of shipowner debts. Hromadske reported that citing Andriy Shevchenko, the head of Odesa sailors charity projects.
“Four months ago, a man from Odesa, five men from Kherson, three from Mykolaiv and one from Kyiv signed a contract with a Turkish shipowner for sailing to Lebanon. However, later it becomes clear that the ship is in Syria, which is in the state of the civil war since 2011. The captain has taken documents of the Ukrainians away to “stay aboard and not to bat around,” Shevchenko said.
The Kherson company, that hired the sailors, reported that the previous crew hadn’t received their salary for almost two years, and the ship Starshina Derov N. G was in a very poor technical condition. It was arrested for the debts of the shipowner/operator on the claim of a third person. Besides, the shipowner faced sanctions for multiple entries into ports of the occupied Crimea.
According to Shevchenko, Ukrainian diplomatic services managed to provide a minimal amount of fresh water and provision to the ship. The representative of the shipowner, whom the sailors contact, transfers a small amount of money to the local agent.
Shevchenko explained that Ukrainians could not go back home as the captain of the port did not issue a permit for them to leave the board as the uncontrolled ship posed a threat to navigation and ecology. The documents were not given back to the sailors until now.
“We are waiting for the actions of the mediator from the side of the Ministry of Social Policy and the law enforcement bodies of Ukraine,” the representative of the sailors' charity fund said.
As it was reported earlier, Ukraine’s Foreign Minister announced that at least 214 Ukrainian sailors were in custody outside Ukraine. The authorized bodies of the countries (namely Greece, India, Spain, Italy, Libya, Oman, France, Sri-Lanka) have chosen custodial detention as pre-trial restrictions. It is practically impossible to state the exact number as some of the detainees try to solve their problems by themselves without applying to consulates, trade unions or other relevant organizations.
International organizations BIMCO and ISF publish the report on the world commercial fleet labor market once in every five years. The latest Manpower Report was issued in 2016. It said that 69 thousand Ukrainians were employed to work on international ships in 2015. Our country enters the top 6 countries among those who supplies the highest number of the workforce to the shipowners.