Seafarers ‘not paid wages and without warm clothing’

Seafarers on board a ship held at Fawley Port were found to be without warm clothing for days and their wages unpaid for three months.

The chemical tanker, Sea Emperor, was detained by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency on January 28, after it was found to have various equipment deficiencies. There was also a lack of cleaning products on board.

Peter Morgan, assistant port chaplain for Southern Ports from Catholic charity Apostleship of the Sea (AoS) visited the ship to offer the crew assistance after the third seafarer contacted the International Transport Workers Federation.

Peter was taken aback when he boarded the ship. “It was ‘pungent’ on board, to put it politely,” he said. “The crew were nervous around the marine superintendent and were reluctant to say anything at the time,” he added.

Sensing their uneasiness, Peter left his contact details with the crew, who texted him later to say they had not been paid their wages and that they had no warm clothing with them. They also expressed a desire to go to church.

“The next day I brought fresh clothes, soap and other cleaning materials and sim cards so they could contact their families in the Philippines,” Peter said.

“I also took them rosaries and prayer cards,” he added. However, the ship had gone out to anchorage.

The following day, Peter joined a marine police unit which visited the ship at anchorage and delivered the supplies and religious items to the seafarers.

“They appeared happier and more relaxed. They informed me they had finally been paid and that cleaning supplies had been put on board.”

The ship has since left for Lagos, Nigeria, and is scheduled to arrive on February 18. AoS Lagos port chaplain Fr Gabriel Feyisetan has been asked to visit the crew.

AoS, via its team in Manila, will also be in contact with the crew members’ family to offer any support that is needed.

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