YEAR OF THE SEAFARER | Crew stuck on “floating prison”

Originally published in Tradewinds, 2010/09/21

Seven Indonesian crew have been stuck on a Saudi tanker since February in a dispute over pay.

The vessel has been anchored off Bahrain and the men have been reliant on local charities to survive.

Captain Saehoddin Amri and his six crewmates brought the 600-dwt bunkering ship Lady Anna (built 1995) to the country for work on behalf of operator Al Sabah Marine of Saudi Arabia.

But the relevant documentation needed to carry out the project had expired before their arrival. They have not been able to work, return to Kuwait or officially enter Bahrain since then.

Amri likened conditions to being in a floating jail, when he talked to local reporters.

“We cannot go anywhere or do anything,” he said. “After we are finished eating, that’s it. We have no salary so we cannot even buy anything.

“We cannot take on any contracts to work either, because legally we are not allowed to operate in Bahrain, so we are just maintaining the ship every day; painting and washing and anything else that needs to be done.

“The crew is already in very low spirits and we just want to retrieve our salary.”

A spokesman for the Indonesian consul said Al Sabah had made an offer to return the men to Indonesia and pay the salaries within five months.

But the crew remain unimpressed with this.

The company phone number given on its website was not in use.

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