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Union aids crew stranded in Kazakhstan

6 January 2012

The ITF-affiliated Seafarers' Union of Russia (SUR) has come to the aid of 11 seafarers left stranded without food, water or money in the Caspian Sea port of Aqtau, Kazakhstan since November 2011.

The crewmembers – six Indians, two Russians, two Ukrainians and an Iranian – turned to the union for help after the master of the Iran-flagged Daryadel 1 was accused of drug smuggling and the ship was arrested. The crew had not been paid for two months at the time of the detention and their passports were taken away by the authorities. With no support from the shipowner, and left with no fresh water or food on board, the crewmembers asked the SUR to come to their aid.

The SUR contacted the ambassadors of the relevant home countries to let them know the plight of their nationals, and approached the shipowner to provide assistance and pay the crew's owed wages. As a result of the union's intervention, the owners have agreed to pay all outstanding wages when the ship arrives in Iran, where it was due after leaving Aqtau, with the crew having the option of staying on board or signing off.

The crewmembers have written to thank the SUR for its advice, help and assistance in settling their case.

Are you having problems with getting your pay in full? If you are, this could be a sign that your company is in economic trouble. You should contact your union or the ITF directly as soon as possible to protect your wages and employment.

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