Seafarers' charity Stella Maris-Apostleship of the Sea (AoS) stepped in to assist after a fight broke out involving crew of a fishing vessel in Seychelles. The incident occurred in October, but the story has only come to light. Four Filipino fishermen whose work contracts had expired were desperate to return home to their families.
However, the Captain of the Chinese trawler refused to let them go and pay for flight tickets to the Philippines. The men were also owed wages.
A heated argument on board escalated, resulting in the Filipino fishermen being attacked. They were able to call for help, and were rescued by the Seychelles Coast Guard, Marine Police and Seychelles Port Authority.
The Port Authority contacted AoS Port Victoria Chaplain Albert Napier who was asked to mediate.
Albert said: "A meeting took place in the Port Authority office involving the Captain, a Filipino crew member, the fishing vessel's agent, Marine Police and other parties.
"A resolution was reached whereby the Captain contacted the shipping company's head office in Singapore who agreed to pay the crew and send them home. AoS escorted the four men to the airport to board their flight on the very same day," Albert said, adding that the good team work between the various agencies and AoS resulted in a positive outcome for the exploited crew.
The incident highlights the value and importance of shipping industry stakeholders working closely with Stella Maris-Apostleship of the Sea to ensure seafarers and fishing crew get the right support and help when they need it the most, as outlined in AoS' recently-published Life At Sea Report.
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