Maritime News

C Ladybug crew finally paid, but not by shipowner

4 September 2013

On board the C Ladybug in Antwerp*
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On board the C Ladybug in Antwerp*

The ITF in Belgium has come to the aid of the crew of a vessel detained in Antwerp since March. The Chinese crew of the C Ladybug were left stranded with low provisions and no pay after the Taiwanese owner failed to pay its bills. The crew's plight received considerable media attention, and led to a visit by the Chinese ambassador and proposed solidarity action by dockers in the port.
 
The ship's cook and engineer have now been repatriated after 14 months on board. The remaining cargo has been discharged and the crew have been paid their June, July and August wages by the cargo owners. Eleven crew members remain on board with provisions for about one month, and the ship will now return to her waiting berth at Deurganckdok, Antwerp.
 
ITF inspector for ACV Transcom Christian Roos said: “We are pleased that the crew received their wages and stores of fresh water and provisions. The remaining crew are satisfied with these positive developments." He thanked the people, organisations and authorities who supported the crew, but added: "However, we are concerned for the future as the shipowner has not yet taken up his responsibilities towards his crew.” The owner received Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection from the US court in Houston in July, which gives approval to continue to pay employees and crew, "something that has not been applied yet for the C Ladybug crew," he said.
 
Michel Claes, general secretary of ITF-affiliated ACV Transcom, said: “We will monitor, together with our ITF inspector, the situation on board up till departure of the vessel and give our support to the crew where and when possible.”
 
Meanwhile, the ITF in Malta has won a warrant for the arrest of the sister ship A Ladybug and has filed a lawsuit on behalf of the crew.
 
The Panama-flagged vehicle carrier with a crew of 21 Filipino seafarers and a Pakistani captain were left stranded 15 nautical miles off Malta last month due to the owner's financial difficulties. The crew were left without fuel and with limited food and water, and had not been paid for some months. The Maltese authorities provided fuel and permission for the vessel to enter its waters, and the ITF in Malta has been working with the crew to win their owed wages and arrange their repatriation.
 
The crew of the B Ladybug have also contacted the ITF in Malta for help in securing back pay and repatriation.




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