The 22 crewmembers aboard the 1990-built reefer Pacific Breeze, owned by BSBS Ltd Moscow, have won the full back pay before they were repatriated earlier this week, the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) informed.
The Russian crew had requested the ITF’s assistance in early April, claiming that the ship’s operator, Belgium-based Seatrade Reefer Chartering, had not paid their wages for February or March, totalling USD139,810, and was planning to repatriate them when the vessel arrived in Oran port in Algeria in two days’ time.
Following ITF’s intervention, the company agreed to pay the men before the ship left Oran but instead tried to bring on board a new crew in an attempt to disembark and repatriate the existing crew without settling their wages.
The ITF and the crew turned to the Algerian port state control (PSC) for help, which soon boarded the ship. The new crew was ordered to move from the vessel, while Pacific Breeze was ordered not to sail until the payment was settled.
The men received their owed wages on April 12, disembarked the next day and were repatriated on April 14.
“This was an all-too-typical case of a company trying to get away with not paying its crew. Fortunately, the crew knew to turn to the ITF for help. We thank Oran port state control for their support in winning justice for the men and are pleased they returned home safely,” Mohamed Arrachedi, ITF Arab World network co-ordination, said.
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