Cooks ship detained

Thursday July 18, 2019 Written by Published in National
The vessel Alexander Tvardovskiy. BBC 19071905 / 19071706 The vessel Alexander Tvardovskiy. BBC 19071905 / 19071706

A Maritime Cook Islands surveyor arrives in Scotland today to check the condition of a Cooks-flagged cargo ship at the centre of an international row.

 

The Alexander Tvardovskiy was detained in the port of Leith on June 26. The crew on board have been trapped there due to unpaid wages and safety issues, the BBC reports.

The Cooks surveyor is to investigate concerns about safety management, security and employment conditions – all of which are “detainable deficiencies”.

Former captain Gennadi Kukvinov first asked for food two weeks ago. A trade union federation claims he was then sacked for not “toeing the line”.

The Apostleship of the Sea, a mariners’ charity, provided emergency supplies to the hungry crew yesterday.

Constantin Schegolov, the new captain, said their situation remained uncertain. “Food is being delivered today. We don’t know when we will be able to leave here. Only a few of us have been paid wages since May.”

The ship is owned by NWS 6 Balt Shipping Company, a Maltese company and a current member of the Cook Islands Ship Owners Association.

Moeroa Mamanu-Matheson, the Maritime Cook Islands registrar of ships, says they have been working closely to ensure the deficiencies on-board are rectified.

The Transport Workers' Federation has been liaising with the Cook Islands authority, working to protect the sailors’ welfare.

“We have also ensured that the wages were paid correctly and we are now pressing the owners to make sure the wages for the month of June are paid and that any off-signers are paid the due wages and the due repatriation costs.”

Mamanu-Matheson said they had repeatedly informed the owners they would not be allowed to sail until all wages were paid and the crew’s welfare was up to standard.

The Cook Islands surveyor’s first duty today is to check the situation and contact local agents to make sure there is no lack of food or water or any other primary needs for crew.

Mamanu-Matheson added that Maritime Cook Islands had always shown support to the crew working aboard Cook Islands flagged vessels and tried to ensure ship-owners and managers complied with regulations.

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