The stranded seafarers are onboard the Liberia-flagged MV Ptolemeos and MV Arrybas.
The ITF informs that the Chief Engineer of the Arrybas vessel commented via WhatsApp on April 18 that "We have been on board eight months ... We be at anchorage without salary eight months, without going outside the harbor, without money."
He further noted that there are still 11 crew members onboard, the majority of which are from the Philippines, while the majority of crew on the sister ship are from Sri Lanka.
In addition, onboard the Ptolemeos, the Second Engineer wrote on Facebook to a friend: “Hey man [it’s] 2.5 months [they] left us and we tried to leave,” he said. “I didn’t have a phone call for so long. May Saint Nicholas help all of you.”
To remind, the two vessels were detained in early September 2019, with the Greek Government taking action to find a solution for the repatriation of the Greek seafarers onboard both vessels.
The ITF highlights that seafarers should return home and be a priority, with Mohamed Arrachedi, ITF Arab World and Iran Network Coordinator commenting that "It is time to find a solution. The Djibouti maritime authorities must honor their commitment to the MLC and end the abandonment of the seafarers stranded on the Ptolemeos and Arrybas."
Overall, the ITF was firstly informed about the Ptomeleos in August 2019 when the crew reported that they had not been paid for three months when the ship docked in Kenya. Kenyan Port State Control detained the vessel for MLC violations. An ITF inspector who visited the ship, reported that the Filipino crew was fearful of blacklisting if they complained. They had been forced to sign falsified pay slips saying they had been paid. The ITF secured the crew’s owed wages before the ship was allowed to sail. However, on arriving in Djibouti both ships were arrested.