Crew concerns include pay and pirates

International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) New Zealand inspector Grahame McLaren says the case of 10 Sri Lankan crew members aboard the MV Charelle docked at the Ports of Auckland are an example of the hardships experienced by seafarers around the world.

The vessel and its crew were held by Somali pirates for six months last year, only being released after a ransom was paid on 3 December 2009.

Now a new crew are waiting for tens of thousands of dollars of back pay in Auckland.

The MV Charelle was inspected by ITF New Zealand inspector Grahame MacLaren and local Maritime Union of New Zealand representatives in Auckland in March 2010.

Mr McLaren says crew members were being paid well below ITF rates and even less than International Labour Organization (ILO) minimums.

Crew are awaiting a total of $75,000 in back pay, and have not been paid for 3 1/2 months, apart from a payment of $4,000 made earlier this week.

The managers have given assurances to Maritime Union of New Zealand Auckland Local 13 President Garry Parsloe that the balance owing will be paid within a week.

Mr McLaren says crew are due to be repatriated in the next few days and replaced with a new crew, but the ITF have advised them not to leave the ship until all outstanding amounts have been paid.

The MV Charelle is a general cargo ship operating under the Antigua and Barbados flag of convenience.

The vessel is German owned and managed by New Zealand company Tradex Marine.

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