Fifteen crewmembers of the tanker Qaaswa, which was stranded off the coast of Tunisia since early May, have been sent home with most of their owed wages, according to International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF).
Paul Falzon, ITF contact in Malta, has been helping the crew, which consisted of 13 Indian and two Pakistani seafarers, since May 13 after hearing from Malta that there was a ship outside its national waters whose crew felt threatened by the company.
ITF said that, at that time, the company Alco Shipping Services, had not paid the crew’s wages for more than four months and had failed to carry out repairs on the vessel.
After passing by Malta, the vessel was kept 100 miles out at sea, and was then ordered to anchor just off the coast of SfaxI. IFT informed that Alco left the vessel without fresh water and provisions for long periods of time and “was trying to force the crew to sail the unfit vessel to Egypt.”
“The story isn’t over yet, however. We’re still pursuing one May salary and all the crew’s salaries for June – and will keep on until the men are paid what they are owed in full,” Mohamed Arrachedi, ITF inspector, said.
Arrachedi added that the ITF is also defending the crews of another two of Alco Shipping Services’ vessels which are abandoned. The company’s ship Sharjah Moon is currently docked in Hamriyah Port, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, while the second ship, Ocean Pride, is at anchorage off the UAE coast.