Indian Express – Pak, Bangla crew aboard ship near Alang protests over wages

(Written by Gopal Kateshiya)

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5 Septembre 2013 - A cargo vessel anchored near Alang ship-breaking yard in Bhavnagar has been mired in controversy as its crew members are reportedly protesting against its captain over alleged non-payment of their wages. The Panama-flagged cargo vessel, Meem, had approached the Alang ship-breaking yard some 20 days ago. However, a third party filed an admiralty suite against the vessel owners over the recovery of dues and, subsequently, the Bombay High Court ordered against its beaching in Alang. Since then, the 500-metric-tonne vessel has been anchored near Alang.

However, further trouble began on Tuesday as its crew, nationals of Pakistan and Bangladesh, reportedly ransacked the ship, protesting the non-payment of their wages. “Yesterday, we received a letter from the agent of the vessel stating the crew members aboard it were creating trouble for the captain of the ship. We have advised them to take police’s help in case the situation worsens,” an official of customs department posted at Alang told The Indian Express on Wednesday.

Compass Shipping Agency, a Bhavnagar-based firm, is the agent of the vessel and it has been liaising with the Indian authorities. The general cargo vessel was built in 1986.

The officer said there were five Pakistani and two Bangla nationals in the crew while the captain of the ship was a Syrian. “We have been told that the vessel had been on a long voyage and its owners were hit by financial crisis. So, the wages have not been paid for some time,” the officer further said. However, Alang Marine police confirmed the captain or the agent had not approached them for any help. Meanwhile, Alang port officer Sudhir Chadha said the incident was their internal dispute and that port authorities had no role to play in it.