Seafarers on board a ship held at Fawley Port in the UK were found to be without warm clothing for days and their wages unpaid for three months, according to the Apostleship of the Sea, a Catholic charity based in Great Britain.
The Marshall Islands-flagged chemical tanker, Sea Emperor, was detained by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency on January 28 due to various deficiencies related to the ship’s equipment. After a seafarer contacted the International Transport Workers Federation, Peter Morgan, an assistant port chaplain for Southern Ports, visited the ship to meet with the crew. Peter says he was taken aback when he boarded the ship and saw the conditions.
“It was ‘pungent’ on board, to put it politely,” he said. “The crew were nervous around the marine superintendent and were reluctant to say anything at the time,” he added. But after leaving his contact details, Chaplain Morgan said the crew later texted him that they had not been paid wages and were without warm clothing.
“The next day I brought fresh clothes, soap and other cleaning materials and sim cards so they could contact their families in the Philippines,” Chaplain Morgan said. “I also took them rosaries and prayer cards,” he added, noting that some of the crew had expressed wanting to go to church.
The following day the Chaplain again visited the ship, which at that point had moved to an outer anchorage.
“They appeared happier and more relaxed. They informed me they had finally been paid and that cleaning supplies had been put on board,” Chaplain Morgan said.
The MT Sea Emperor has since left for Lagos, Nigeria, where it is scheduled to arrive on February 18, according to the AoS charity. Once there, a Lagos port chaplain will visit with the crew to offer support as needed.