RMI Flagged Crew allegedly threatened by Owners for voicing concerns of COVID-19 exposure

Press Release

IMMEDIATE

“We, the full complement of the Tomini Destiny are under enormous pressure, fatigue and mental stress due to owners and charterers insisting to perform shipboard operations under duress.”

London. UK. Human Rights at Sea has been passed a formal letter dated 31 March 2020 from the Master of the Marshall Islands flagged vessel, the MV TOMINI DESTINY, (IMO No. 9718155) signed by all 22 crew, raising serious concerns about the conduct of Owners and Charterers deemed to be harassment and intimidation relating to their asserted unsafe offloading operations at Chittagong, Bangladesh, and a lack of COVID-19 screening of stevedores, and adequate protection for the crew.

The signed, vessel stamped and dated letter identifies the Owners as Tomini Transports LLC and the Charterers as Western Bulk Carriers A/S.

The concerns first raised internally to the Owners and Charterers focused on the continuation of vessel offload operations without sufficient safeguards in place for the crew, with correct and not sub-standard PPE, and the ability to limit external persons coming onboard during the discharge period, over whom they have no control over in terms of potential COVID exposure.

The Master and crew have been forced to write direct to the flag State administration, the Indian Government and Indian Unions due to the alleged conduct towards them by their management in raising their concerns for discharge, while the owner has allegedly threatened “disciplinary action of termination of the services of full complement” if they do not allow stevedores onboard.

Importantly, it is stated that the ships agent has confirmed there is no screening for COVID-19 for the stevedores who would come onboard and stay for the period of discharge, which number circa 60 persons.

The Master highlights in his letter that: “We, the full complement of the Tomini Destiny are under enormous pressure, fatigue and mental stress due to owners and charterers insisting to perform shipboard operations under duress.”

ISSUES RAISED

  1. Inadequate PPE for crew.
  2. Duress towards crew and threats to terminate employment for reasonably raising safety and welfare issues.
  3. Crew resilience and mental health in balancing their role and their safety.
  4. Onward transmission of COVID-19 through global shipping lanes.

Further updates to be made available.

Ends.

 

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