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

AFTA and CLIA welcome WA government’s $3m support package for travel agents

While Western Australian agents are breathing a sigh of relief, those in other states and territories have no doubt turned green with envy over this new funding.

Share

CommentComments

Wholesalers

Chimu’s James McAlloon nears finish line of mammoth fundraising trek

Kudos to James for enduring shin splints, exhaustion, sore feet, sunburn, and two weeks of quarantine in a remote South Australian hotel, all for a good cause.

Share

CommentComments

Tourism

Destination NSW marketing boss to join Australian Tourism Data Warehouse as CEO

Jan Hutton is already mulling over embossing or debossing her new business card after snaring the top job at ATDW.

Share

CommentComments

Cruise

Why did Tom Cruise just charter two Hurtigruten ships?

Get ready to have the Mission: Impossible theme song stuck in your head for the rest of the day, because apparently the ships were hired for the latest movie in the franchise.

Share

CommentComments

Hotels

You can now stay in the mansion from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

Pull up to your very own kingdom for the night and sit on the throne with this nostalgia-riddled Airbnb listing from The Fresh Prince himself.

Share

CommentComments

Travel Agents

Agent Wrap: AFTA members join National Mobilisation Program, TravelManagers agent celebrates 15 years + MORE

To celebrate the fact that it’s Friday, we’ve made you an extra special Agent Wrap! And it’s not JUST special because we forgot to post one for the past few weeks.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Tickets for Qantas’ epic seven-hour scenic flight sell out in 10 minutes!

by Huntley Mitchell

Qantas reckons it’s “probably the fastest-selling flight” in The Flying Kangaroo’s history.

Share

CommentComments

Hotels

Hotel Wrap: W Melbourne on the lookout for 100-plus staff, Preferred welcomes 13 new hotels + MORE

Know a teammate who’s getting behind on the latest news in accommodation? Send them a link to this week’s cracker of a Hotel Wrap.

Share

CommentComments

Wholesalers

“This downtime has really opened our eyes”: GFOB’s Gai Tyrrell on supporting agents (and much, much more)

by Huntley Mitchell

Globus family of brands’ regional boss has shared everything that’s going on with the wholesaling giant right now and in the future with yours truly.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

Regional Victorians wake to eased travel restrictions

by Christian Fleetwood

Finally, Victoria’s tourism industry has something to cheer about. Let’s hope the Andrews government continues this positive momentum.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

Tripadvisor names the hottest domestic travel destinations for spring

GOOD NEWS: it looks like Aussie travellers are getting set for a spring fling in the great outdoors! Click here to find out where and how they’ll be travelling.

Share

CommentComments

Cruise

Carnival sells two more ships, cancels more Aussie sailings

Are you looking to purchase your own personal floating city? Well, keep your eyes peeled, because Carnival has accelerated its removal of less-efficient ships.

Share

CommentComments