Navi Wind crew still waiting on pay

Josh
Josh Pennell
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Groups pull together to get water, food and clothing to abandoned crew

Food, water and clothing have arrived for 11 crew members stuck on a powerless ship in Argentia, but the same can’t be said for the money they’re owed.

The crew were bound for Turkey with a cargo of scrap metal when power on their vessel — the Navi Wind — was lost. On Dec. 6, Transport Canada directed the vessel to return to Argentia as it was taking on water in the engine room. The ship was towed to port and has been detained there ever since, but the crew members were in rough shape, having little food and fresh water and no power to heat their cabins.

Gerard Bradbury of the International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF) is looking after the welfare of the crew.

“They went through hell out there. They bobbed around for two days and basically had a bucket brigade because they took on that much water in the engine room,” he says.

The winds were reportedly hitting 60 and 70 knots.

“They were like a cork in a bathtub, is what they were.”

He says water, food, as well as warm clothing and blankets have been donated by various organizations, companies and unions. There is heat in the common areas of the ship, but none in the cabins. One crew member who was injured has been placed on two weeks of bed rest.

Bradbury said another crew member who is not looking well has declined medical attention.

Communicating with the men is difficult. The crew is a mixture of Croatian and Greek, and communicating between those languages, as well as English, has been an obstacle for Bradbury. He hasn’t been able to determine if the ill-looking crew member was injured during the storm or became ill another way.

The big issue, though, still remains their pay, which will reach up to about $100,000, according to Bradbury.

“My biggest concern now is to get some sort of guarantee, or show me, the money is placed into these guys’ accounts, and a plane ticket,” he says. “These guys have received nothing so far. This (owner) truly intended to see if he could get this ship to Turkey without paying anybody. That is my belief.”

The owner was supposed to have a meeting with the owners of the ship’s cargo and his insurer in Egypt on Monday. Bradbury is eager to get something underway for the crew before Christmas shuts down the banks and the courts. They should know by noon today if the owner has managed to find the finances he needs to deal with his outstanding debts owed to the crew.

“If not, we’re just going to have to proceed through the courts and place a legal arrest and lien on the ship,” says Bradbury.

Check www.thetelegram.com for updates on this story.

josh.pennell@thetelegram.com

Organizations: International Transport Workers' Federation, Transport Canada

Geographic location: Turkey, Argentia, Egypt

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