Boat owner agrees to pay wages owed to crew

The owners of the UK-registered fishing vessel detained in West Cork almost a fortnight ago over a number of irregularities has reportedly agreed to pay €23,000 in wages owed to Indonesian crew members.

Human trafficking officers from the Garda National Protective Services Bureau have been involved in the garda investigation into the conditions onboard the 30m-long Christian M which broke down off the Cork coast and was towed into Castletownbere port two weeks ago.

The vessel was detained by the Irish Marine Survey Office on November 10 and it remained detained as of yesterday. A cockroach infestation onboard had to be tackled by pest control officials.

The 13 crew members walked off the vessel last Friday and were put on a minibus and driven to the Balseskin Refugee Centre in Dublin. It is understood that the more senior Spanish crew members remained onboard.

The International Transport Workers Federation (ITF), which has been working with the Indonesians since last week, had demanded they be paid all outstanding wages as well as the cost of their air fares and any monies paid to agents by the men for their jobs.

Ken Fleming, ITF co-ordinator for Britain and Ireland, said solicitors for the owner had contacted the men to say the owed wages would be paid.

Mr Fleming also called on the British Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA), as the flag body, to give assurances that the contracts of employment and hours worked by the men when they were onboard were in order.

The ITF has written to the MCA to say it believes another Indonesian crew is due to travel to join the vessel.

It also told the MCA that when onboard the Christian M last Friday, it saw evidence that the cockroaches appeared to have repopulated themselves.

“Can the MCA prevent the crew from living in such conditions until the infestation has been dealt with in full?” it asked.

The MCA yesterday told Irish Examiner: “The vessel still remains detained in Ireland. The MCA is working closely with the owner to address the issues raised by the inspection carried out by the Irish Authorities and by the MCA inspection. The vessel will not be allowed to sail until the MCA is satisfied the issues are being adequately addressed.”


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