Sailors face starvation, deportation

  • 2005-03-02
  • By TBT staff
KLAIPEDA 's A regional court has decided to seize a Panama-registered ship, the Inforte, while its crew-- four Russians and one Ukrainian -- are facing deportation. The crew of the ship, which has been docked at the Klaipeda Port since July of last year, feels stranded, the Lietuvos Zinios daily reported.

The four crewmembers have not received salaries since November.

Inforte International Corporation, a Panama-registered tax-free company headed by a Ukrainian citizen owns the ship and owes the men $25,000 for their work.

With help from a representative of the International Transport Workers' Federation, the men are preparing to recover the debt by court.

They further complained that the owner of the ship did not give them money for food last month, forcing them to buy groceries with their own currency.

The sailors arrived in the port with 1,000 tons of frozen fish from Mauritania. The owners had asked the crew to work for a few months, pledging to pay them accordingly. The ship was due to set sail for the Atlantic Ocean one month later. Upon realizing that they wouldn't be paid, a few crewmembers left immediately, while others stayed.

The sailors, still stranded without food or money, are worried about their future.

As some of their visas expired on March 1, and the others will soon be invalid, the sailors face deportation.

According to Lietuvos Zinios, the ship may eventually turn into an ecological bomb due to its high fuel quantity. If the crew is deported, it will be difficult to guarantee safety of the ship.