Cruise

Britain detains five cruise ships amid welfare concerns for stranded crew

British port authorities have detained five cruise ships amid concerns over 1,500 crew members stranded on board CMV vessels.

Transport secretary Grant Shapps said in a statement seen by The Guardian that the government will “not hesitate to continue to use every power within our control to safeguard the health and happiness” of the workers.

“The welfare of seafarers is of the utmost importance and we take any reports of safety concerns around crew incredibly seriously.”

The British Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) reportedly detained five of six ships operated by Cruise and Maritime Voyages (CMV) that were inspected last Friday morning following concerns raised about crew members, some of whom had been stranded in Essex for more than three months.

“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,” the MCA said, according to The Guardian.

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

Reports have been circulating about crew members of CMV vessels engaging in hunger strikes, having wages paid late and the death of one Indian crew member.

This follows deaths of several crew members last month on board other cruise ships as concerns mounted over the mental health of cruise workers still at sea amid the COVID-19 standstill.

A spokeswoman from CMV told Travel Weekly only one crew member has died on board a CMV vessel since the COVID-19 outbreak. The crew member is believed to have died of a heart attack.

Despite most European crew members being repatriated, there are still many workers from Indonesia, Myanmar and India stranded on the ships.

The All Indian Seafarers Union has posted a photo of a letter to the Indian government on Twitter pleading for them to repatriate 164 Indian citizens on the Astoria in Tilbury Port.

CMV shared a statement with Travel Weekly confirming Astor, the Columbus, Astoria, Vasco de Gama and the Marco Polo were detained “after the MCA identified some issues relating to expired crew contracts and crew being onboard in excess of 12 months”.

“Both issues occurred as a result of the enforced lockdown period and the COVID-19 travel restrictions,” the line said.

“The MCA also identified recent temporary delays in the payment of wages (which were due within the last week) and were immediately corrected by CMV.

“The inspection onboard Magellan identified the same issues, but the vessel was not detained and was given 14 days to rectify them.”

CMV CEO Christian Verhounig said the line has been in “high-level talks” with the Indian High Commission as well as other countries to obtain special landing permits and repatriate the remaining crew members.

Our crew have endured a pro-longed period quarantined on board our ships during lockdown and are understandably anxious and distressed as a result,” Verhounig said.

“We fully sympathise with and understand our crew’s frustration and upset at being held under quarantine conditions onboard our ships due to the local restrictions imposed.”

“We hope this issue has raised awareness of the plight of our crew with the various embassies and that they will now assist CMV with the repatriation of crew members.

“We are confident that with the sudden increase in support and help we will be able to repatriate the remaining crew ideally before the end of the month.”


Featured image: Twitter/All Indian Seafarers Union

SEE WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING

Leave a Reply

Travel Agents

“I’ve been quite overwhelmed”: Agent wowed by client support

While most travel agents have been busy repatriating clients and working on refunds, one advisor was presented with a golden opportunity.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

Destination Gold Coast recruits celebs for postcard campaign

A host of celebs and tour operators have been suffering from writer’s cramp after the destination marketing agency asked them to pen 3,000 postcards to Aussie families.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

Aloha Friday Wrap: HTA adopts important declaration, Hawaiian Airlines’ new cookbook + MORE

Have your clients been sorely missing the Hawaiian Islands? Lift their spirits with the latest Aloha Friday Wrap.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Hawaiian Airlines creates ‘Sharing Aloha Series’ cookbook

Due to the popularity of Hawaiian Airlines’ ‘Sharing Aloha Series’, the airline has created a downloadable recipe book with all of the dishes for fans to make at home.

Share

CommentComments

Events

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park’s annual Cultural Festival to go virtual

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is not letting the COVID-19 pandemic get in the way of its annual Cultural Festival.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Hawaiian Airlines extends ‘Book With Confidence’ waiver

Hawaiian Airlines has extended its Book With Confidence waiver to cover any new bookings made through 31 July 2020.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

Hawaii Tourism Authority adopts Aina Aloha declaration

Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) has adopted the Aina Aloha Economic Futures declaration following a recent meeting of its board of directors.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

WATCH: The ‘new normal’ of flying between the Hawaiian Islands

Hawaiian Airlines has shared a video to show the ‘new normal’ of flying between the Hawaiian Islands.

Share

CommentComments

Tourism

Linkd Tourism appoints new trade account manager

Here’s some positive recruitment news to offset some of the negative redundancy news that’s been doing the rounds in the travel industry lately.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

YIPPEE! Virgin launches new Aussie routes, brings back ‘Happy Hour’ sales

The only thing we at Travel Weekly love more than new routes is cheap airfares, and this story features both! Well, except wine, of course – we value wine above almost everything.

Share

CommentComments

Travel Agents

Flight Centre gains access to additional funding to offset COVID-19 impacts

Skroo’s stress ball has scored a well-earned break after Flight Centre managed to secure some much-needed funding.

Share

CommentComments

Hotels

Hotel Wrap: Event hotels to give away 1,200 nights, Crystalbrook offers $100 bar tabs to interstate guests + MORE

Planning a domestic escape for your clients? Lucky for you, we’ve got a mix of deals, offers and openings to suit all tastes in this wrap.

Share

CommentComments