The Inquirer (Monrovia)

31 December 2012

Liberia: B.C. EROG Vessel Abandons 16 Foreign Crewmen On Liberian Pier

About 16 men onboard a Senegalese vessel , the B.C. EROG are said to be left in the cold as the fishing vessel remains stranded on the Liberian waters due to lack of legal papers. Speaking to this paper on Friday, the sailors who were of different nationalities said they boarded the vessel in Senegal since 2010 and have traveled to Abidjan and now to Liberia. But since they arrived in Liberia ten months ago, they have been ill-treated and do not understand their purpose of being in Liberia this long.

They said that they got news that the vessel had been arrested on the Liberian pier because it had had no proper document to sail on the Liberian waters and that it was because of the news that they have been to the Ministry of Justice and their Embassies to intervene but to date, nothing has been heard or done and they have no food or water.

The sailors told this paper that it was on Thursday, December 27, that they were approached by some officials from the Liberia Maritime Affairs who told them to anchor the vessel and leave the pier because some China Union is taking over.

The sailors who claimed to have already been abandoned with the vessel wondered how they can get into the same vessel and anchor on sea adding that that would mean their death because at least on land they are able to hustle along with their other Liberian colleagues. The men said their refusal to get onboard the vessel has led them to sleeping in the open presently on the pier.

They complained how they have left their children and families and for nine months and how they have been unable to communicate with their families or send money back home and to live in a country where there is no family is a difficult life. They are calling on the Liberian government to mount serious pressure on the management of the vessel to give them their salaries and send them off.

They said they are hired workers on the vessel and cannot suffer if the management fails to travel with its legal documents adding that that should be an issue between the government and the management and not sailors who are looking for their daily bread.

The sailors said whatever the problem is that the Spanish Captain only identified as Albeto who is currently an engineer at the St. Joseph Catholic Hospital has with the government, they are only requesting an intervention to have them paid and sent back to their various countries because being a sailor on any vessel is done through a contractual arrangement and if one party fails to complete its obligation, then it is criminal.

Meanwhile, when the National Port Authority was contacted through its Public Affairs, it appeared as if this was the first time such matter had been brought to their attention.

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