Bulk Carrier Crew Refuses To Work After Months Trapped On Ship, Gets Repatriated

Seafarers on the South Korean-owned bulk carrier ‘Contamines’ stood up and refused to work further as their ship came into berth in Panama in recent days. The seafarers adopted the action in order to get repatriated after being trapped working aboard the Contamines for months beyond their original contracts, with some crew members approaching a year at sea.

Crew had a long ordeal with the company and others before they finally got off.

With the Contamines South Korean-owned, the ship is actually flagged to the Marshall Islands. And so fairly soon after berthing, an inspector from e Marshall Islands registry came aboard first and talked to the crew. He was there to try to change their minds. Rather than holding the company accountable for extending contracts dangerously close to the 11-month international maximum, or investigating the unpaid wages – he pressured them to stay aboard. The agent told the seafarers that a fresh crew change and repatriation would be done at the ship’s next port of call, in Bermuda. After weeks of deception and false promises, the crew did not believe the Marshall Islands man.

That is not a good look for Marshall Islands Registry. What the heck is Flag doing getting involved in advocating for the owner or charterer? This sounds like a large conflict of interest and well outside the scope of a Flag inspectors obligations and responsiblities.

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Unless he was an company envoy acting under false pretenses since the crew no longer believed the owner’s lies.

Not an unfathomable stretch, though a risky choice by the company if true. Either way this would be an opportune time for a statement of condemnation from MI.

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That’s a brilliant solution though. Wait until the ship is at the berth then refuse to work including refusing to sail the ship again.

That struck me as odd as well, but who knows?

The one thing that comes to mind is the SMS, keeping the crew aboard might not be explicitly spelled out but it violates the spirit of the safety system. Could be the crew was demanding compliance.

More likely something else seems like. Could be the the inspector just wanted to off the ship to beat traffic and get home in time for his cocktail.