Crew Abandoned In New Zealand

Two of the Burmese crew on board the Liberian ship of shame abandoned when their ship was arrested in Auckland this week have not been paid for a year, one is presumed dead after going missing in heavy seas on route from Chile, most had not spoken to their families in months and all were running short of water and provisions.

The International Transport Workers' Federation and Maritime Union of New Zealand has been assisting the 23 seafarers after the ship, owned by New York company Eastwind Maritime, went bankrupt and Tokyo-based Aozora Bank, which has a mortgage over the ship had it arrested.

Auckland Seafarers Branch secretary, Garry Parsloe, said the union's primary concern was that the crew, who come from Myanmar, were paid their wages.

"They're in quite good health and are okay. But I almost collapsed when I was told there's a couple of them who haven't been paid in a year."

The crew, some of whom hadn't spoken to their families for months, were given telephones, as well as food and water.

Mr Parsloe, who represents the International Transport Workers Federation, said the ship's agent had given an undertaking that a payment would be made to crew members to help them in the meantime.

See also "Some of ship's crew unpaid for year" in the New Zealand Herald