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Four ships detained in Port of Tilbury following concerns for welfare of crews

The Astoria previously out at sea (credit: Cruise and Maritime Voyages)

The Coastguard has detained four ships docked in the Port of Tilbury due to concerns for the welfare of their crews. 

Inspectors boarded and examined the Astoria, Astor, Colombus and Vasco de Gama on Friday, 19 June.

They are all owned by Global Cruise Lines Limited and a fifth ship is also being detained in Avonmouth Docks, Bristol. 

“Surveyors found a number of expired and invalid Seafarers Employment Agreements, late payment of wages and crews who had been on board for over 12 months,” a spokesperson for the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) said. 

“All these are in breach of the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) and the ships have been detained for that reason.”

The All Indian Seafarers Union also claims 164 Indian crew members onboard the Astoria have been stranded in Tilbury for 90 days due to the coronavirus crisis. 

They reportedly held a peaceful protest and went on a hunger strike after being unable to return home.

The union has written to the Indian government asking them to intervene and help crew members return to their families. 

All five ships will remain detained until the breaches of the MLC are resolved and the MCA invited back in to reinspect.

A spokesperson for Cruise and Maritime Voyages (CMV), who run the ships, told the BBC they are “cooperating fully” with inspections. 

“The health, safety and welfare of all their passengers and crew is CMV’s top priority,” he said.

They are also reportedly talking to the Indian government about ways to safely repatriate the crew members onboard the Astoria. 

For more on this story, and the latest on our other local and national news, listen to Time 107.5FM



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