11 July 2019

Kenya: Ordeal of Kenyans 'Slaving' on Somali Vessel

Photo: Nation
The fishermen say the employer is forcing them to work for long hours and that those who resist are threatened with a gun.

Fifteen Kenyan fishermen are stuck on a vessel owned by a Somali fishing company forced to work under gunpoint without pay, seafarers lobby has said.

The group is desperately calling out for help to return home, East Africa International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF) officer Betty Makena told the Nation.

According to Ms Makena, the fishermen, who were hired by an unlicensed agent in Mombasa in April this year, are working in deplorable conditions and living and sleeping in the open.

She added that from pictures and information she has received, many of them are injured and have not received medical care.

The fishermen claim the employer is forcing them to work for long hours and that those who resist are threatened with a gun.

RECRUITMENT

In documents seen by the Nation, 13 fishermen were hired by Seaport Operations Limited on April 16, 2019 and proceeded to Somalia where they joined other two Kenyans who had been recruited earlier.

Ms Makena says she received a distress call regarding the fishermen working in the vessel named FV Marwan 1 operating in Somali waters.

"The fishermen got my contact from some of their colleagues who they interact with and sent me the details and the pictures on their sufferings. Majority of them are sick and they need urgent medical attention," said Ms Makena.

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