ITF informs that the Spanish company hasn't paid the crew for months, while the vessel was forced to discharge its cargo of Butadiene gas to another vessel on March 7, as the vessel was running out of fuel to keep the gas refrigerated.
This situation began on December 7, when the tanker broke down and lost its rudder off the coast of the Philippines. Although ten days later the vessel was towed to anchor in Manila Bay, the Philippines Port State Control detained the vessel, December 14, when they found it was in breach of the Maritime Labor Convention (MLC) due to unpaid wages, following notification by the ITF.
ITF further notes that the batteries on the seafarers' phones are running low, and the crew remains trapped 13 nautical miles out at sea. The crew have been asking for assistance as the vessel is running low on fuel and diesel oil and the food, fresh water and medicines.
In the meantime, the ITF has requested Filipino authorities to allow the ship into port to facilitate assistance from the flag state and the vessel's insurer, the American Club.
Following, local authorities gave the green light for the vessel to call the port, only under the condition that a tug is provided alongside the tanker and on standby while it is moored.
A seafarer onboard, Pedro, texted the ITF on May 10 saying
We are strong people, but we are exhausted and now bad weather and no option to do anything if (the) vessel drag(s) the anchor ... I hope Monday could be finished this and next week could be able to berth. Under the present condition is very dangerous our situation. We will survive until Monday.
It is further noted that some seafarers onboard from Spain and the Caribbean remain onboard since August and others since November.
Although the Philippines are a signatory to the MLC requiring governments to facilitate crew repatriation during abandonment, no action has been taken, says the ITF. The ITF has written to the International Labour Organization requesting their intervention.
In reference to situations like the one above, ISWAN partnered with InterManager, ICS, ICMA and ITF, and launched a new booklet, entitled 'Arrested and Detained Vessels, and Abandoned Seafarers', providing guidance to welfare organisations dealing with incidents of seafarers being abandoned and vessels being arrested or detained.