By Conrad Freezer.
On behalf of Rye and District Lions Club, I visited the Torrent at 0900 this morning with Carl Bagwell to get an update and to see how the crew were. It would seem that the whole situation is still in stale-mate. They still have not been paid, despite rumours to the contrary, and Alexander Moiseev, the Captain, says their families in Russia and the Ukraine are living on credit. They have been receiving some provisions from the ship’s owners. The were asked if there was anything they needed and he said they would appreciate another load of fresh fish.
This will be arranged with one of the boats from Rye fishing fleet and paid for by Rye & District Lions Club. They were also asked if they were OK health-wise or needed a doctor or dentist. Alexander assured us they were in good health, but obviously very unhappy with their predicament. One crew member from the Ukraine has been repatriated due to health problems. The ITF, International Transport Federation, has advised them not to leave the ship, or they will not be paid and this would seem to be the main reason they are staying on. They are trade union members. Two other ships that were arrested in Belgium have been sold for scrap by the owners to raise funds.
There is some suggestion that the Torrent might be chartered to collect a load of stone from North Wales, but Alexander says that the owners say every week, that this will happen next week! They are obviously very fed up and bored to put it politely. The Captain tries to keep them occupied by cleaning and painting, but they are running short of paint now. There seems no quick end to the situation. The Harbour Master would get advance notice if the ship was released and there has been no sign of this to date. In the past there have been instances where ships have been in this position for up to two years!
“Rye’s Own” May 2013
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