Pacific Breeze crew paid and repatriated
19 April 2017
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|ITF’s Meliani Abdellah and Pacific Breeze crew members|
The intervention of the ITF and Algerian port state control over Easter won the full back pay owed to 22 crew members of the Pacific Breeze, owned by BSBS Ltd Moscow, before they were repatriated.
The Russian crew had requested the ITF’s assistance on 3 April, claiming that the ship’s operator, Seatrade Reefer Chartering (Belgium), had not paid their wages for February or March – a total of USD139,810 – and was planning to repatriate them when the vessel arrived in Oran port in Algeria in two days’ time.
Calls from Mohamed Arrachedi, ITF Arab World network co-ordination, to the company went unanswered so the ITF contact in Oran, Meliani Abdellah, visited the ship on 6 April to investigate and assist the seafarers, and made several follow-up visits as negotiations continued. The company agreed to pay the men before the ship left Oran but instead tried to bring on board a new crew in an attempt to disembark and repatriate the existing crew without settling their wages.
The ITF and the crew turned to port state control (PSC) for help. The PSC boarded the vessel, ordered the new crew to move to a hotel and ordered the ship not to sail until the payment was settled. It also told the company to clean the vessel immediately and provide sanitary materials on board before it sailed.
Eventually, the men received their owed wages on 12 April, disembarked the next day and were repatriated on 14 April.
Mr Arrachedi said: “This was an all-too-typical case of a company trying to get away with not paying its crew. Fortunately, the crew knew to turn to the ITF for help. We thank Oran port state control for their support in winning justice for the men and are pleased they returned home safely.”
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