Maritime News

ITF comes to the aid of crew stranded in Kenya

1 September 2017

The ITF inspector in Kenya, Betty Makena, has been working in collaboration with the Seafarers’ Union of Kenya and the country's Mission to Seafarers to support 11 Filipino seafarers stranded in Mombasa for nine months in deplorable conditions. 

The crew were on board the fishing carrier vessel, the Taiwanese-owned, Bolivia-flagged Lean Fong Tsai, which had been detained by the Kenyan authorities after it was found to be unseaworthy. Ms Makena reports that the seafarers, who had been brought in to repair the vessel, were living in squalid conditions on board, with limited food, clean water, generator or air conditioning, and were made to work long hours – for which they had not been paid for the whole nine months. The owner irregularly terminated their contracts without paying the crew their full terms. 

Betty Makena commented: “We are concerned about the owner’s ability to pay the crew their full salary due because the ship has been under detention for the last four years having been declared unseaworthy.” 

Ms Makena worked with the Mission to Seafarers to rescue the crew from the vessel and relocated them into the seafarers’ centre for five days. She then helped them to get tickets from the owner to fly home, and is now working with the ITF in the Philippines to retrieve the full payment of wages owed to them.

The ITF in Kenya is also pursuing the case of nine Kenyan seafarers left stranded in Malaysia for a year after their Burundi-owned, Zanzibar-flagged vessel, Queen Bihanga, was declared unfit to sail. The seafarers have been left stranded and unpaid for the whole period. 

Betty Makena is also currently pursuing the case of the Zanzibar-flagged Nawal 4, abandoned by its owner in Berbera, Somali since January 2017. The 13 crew – from Sri Lanka, India, Somalia, Syria and Sudan – have received no pay, are stranded on board without food and one crew member needs urgent medical support. 


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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