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Mistreatment of crew on MV Wisteria

Mistreatment of crew on MV Wisteria

Crew drink canal water while Captain¹s dog drinks mineral water

Another example of abuse and mistreatment of workers in New Zealand waters has been exposed by the International Transport Workers¹ Federation (ITF) in New Zealand.

Distressed crew members were overjoyed when a New Zealand International Transport Workers Federation Inspection team stepped in recently at the port of New Plymouth and Napier and discovered gross mistreatment of the international crew.

ITF co-ordinator Kathy Whelan says the Panamanian flagged reefer vessel m/v ŒWisteria¹ was in Napier and New Plymouth to load export fruit, when routine inspections revealed the gross mistreatment.

The Korean-owned m/v ŒWisteria¹ works between New Zealand and the west coast of the USA.

Ms Whelan says crew had been threatened with the sack if they talked to the ITF.

However the ITF persisted in getting to the bottom of this nasty case of free market fascism on the high seas.

Crew told ITF officials of having to drink water from the Panama Canal, while the Captain¹s dog drank mineral water.

The ITF have copies of the crew¹s employment contract which stated crew members would be fired for having any contact with the ITF, and would have to pay their own way home.

The crew experienced discrimination and the lack of basic facilities such as water for showers and laundry, no soap or laundry detergent provided, and food that was past its expiry date.

Crew worked unpaid overtime, with excessive hours and low wages. One seafarer had been on the vessel for 18 months, receiving US$340 per month pay rather than the correct rate of US$977 per month.

The ITF have succeeded in gaining US$20,000 back pay for the 6 Indonesian crew, who will be repatriated home from New Zealand.

Ms Whelan is travelling to Nelson tomorrow to witness the payment.

Crew expressed fears that company agents in Jakarta will meet them at the airport with the Police and take their money off them, so the ITF is assisting them in banking their money in New Zealand.

The ŒWisteria¹ is a typical Œflag of convenience¹ ship that is owned by a Korean company, registered in Panama, and crewed by a mixed nationality crew from Korea, Indonesia and Myanmar.

The ITF and the Maritime Union of New Zealand are campaigning against ŒFlag of Convenience¹ vessels such as the ŒWisteria.¹

© Scoop Media

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