“the root of the problem is rampant, uncontrolled greed” says MAC’s UK correspondent Bill Redmond.
The worst shipping slump since the 1930s, says the International Transport Workers Federation, ITF, has left many crews abandoned without pay, provisions and contact with their ships’ owners. A typical example was the Russian-crewed Yeya 1 which saw their victuals down to just macaroni and flour after lay up on the river Fal, England, in June this year. Without pay, they relied on the Mission to Seafarers’ gift of £400 of fresh fruit, vegetables and meat to prevent malnutrition.
A worse case was the 1,324 dwt reefer, Rioni, stuck at Banana in the Democratic Republic of Congo. With little food and water, the Ukrainian crew on the Bolivian-flagged vessel saw one crew member die with the ship owners reportedly refusing to repatriate the corpse or pay overdue wages to the survivors.
The river Fal is no stranger to cold lay ups, having seen as many as 50 ships laid up for want of work during past recessions but the pace of change has been stunning.
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