The crewmembers of three ships belonging to Vinashinlines, a subsidiary of the Vietnam National Shipping Lines (Vinalines), have been suffering problems since their ships were neglected by the company.
These ships include the Diamond Way, the Vinashin Atlantic, and the Song Gianh, whose crews complained to Tuoi Tre that they have received no fuel, food or salary for the past several months despite their calls for the company to take action to help them.
In talking with Tuoi Tre via phone on October 9, Than Anh Duc, captain of the Diamond Way, who has sent an appeal to Tuoi Tre, said the ship has been helt at Jebel Ali port in the United Emirates of Arab (UEA) for more than two months because of Vinashinlines’ debt to its foreign partner.
Vinashinlines has not paid salary to crewmembers. It has not supplied any food, fresh water, or fuel to them for months, either, Duc said. “The living conditions of our 19 crewmembers are very poor. We have had to fish at the port for our meals although the port authority bans us from doing so."
Duc said he has sent three reports since September 1 to the company asking for emergency aid but has received nothing so far.
All personal papers, including passports, of crewmembers have been kept by the UEA’s National Shipping Services LLC, which said it has had no other choice but to keep the ship since Vinashinlines has not cleared its debts.
A similar case happened to the ship in July when it was seized by an oil supplier at an Indian port since Vinashinlines failed to pay for the oil it had bought, Duc said.
On September 7, the captain of the ship sent an urgent letter to the Vung Tau Port Authority warning that they would leave the ship if they were not provided with money and fuel. Three day later, Vinashinlines gave the ship VND10 million (US$480), but no fuel was supplied.
In mid-September, a leader of the company told Tuoi tre that it would supply oil to the ship, but this aid has yet to materialize.
No salary for 7 months
On October 9 crewmembers of the Song Gianh, which is anchored on the Saigon River near the Phu My Bridge in Nha Be District, Ho Chi Minh City, called Tuoi Tre complaining that they have received no salary for the past seven months.
“The company has paid us no money since March. It has also cut meal and travel allowance, driving us towards plight… We cannot get ashore and have no food…. We are very worried,” said a sailor named T.
The ship’s representative said he has asked the company for help and has was told that the company would resume granting meal and travel allowances, but did not announce a concrete date for payment.
Facing such a situation, a number of sailors have resigned, and the company has hired new workers as replacement.
Currently, the US$19.2 million ship has five crewmembers led by a captain.