Date Released: 28 May 2013
The Ukrainian and Russian crew of the mv Clipper Faith freighter, which has been stranded in Dublin since last December, were paid $406,586.68 (€314,160.62) in arrears of wages today and will now be able to return home after being stranded in Dublin for over six months. The arrears were secured by the International Transport Workers’ Federation and the amount is the largest ever secured for the crew of a merchant vessel in Ireland.
The arrears had accumulated since December 1st with no sign of ever being paid. The mv Clipper faith was arrested by the Netherlands Bank BV on March 12th in a dispute over mortgage repayments by Sea Management Woodford Green, the London based owner-operators of the Belize flagged vessel. The breakthrough came after an unusual proposal by the International Transport Federation co-ordinator for the ITF in Britain and Ireland, Ken Fleming of SIPTU.
He agreed to seek an order from the High Court for appraisal and sale of the vessel if the Bank released the vessel, guaranteed to pay the crew’s arrears and also to pay for a replacement crew to take over the mv Clipper Faith within 21 days. In return the crew members agreed to subrogate their lien on the wages to the Bank. Arrears stood at $238,000 to the end of March 2013 and were mounting at a daily rate of $1,844, plus port fees. Mr Fleming pointed out that the continuing legal deadlock in the courts would only see the final bill rise for the bank.
Mr Fleming said today, “We are delighted with the settlement and the opportunity for these seafarers to return home without losing out on the pay they are owed. The seafarers who left last February will be paid for their time on the ship. Repatriation costs of €10,800 will also be paid.
“On behalf of the ITF I would like to thank Judge Butler for granting the subrogation. Throughout the various High Court hearings he has always shown great concern for the welfare of the crew, who were effectively hostages in this dispute.
“It is good to see the courts vindicating the rights of workers who were innocent casualties of a battle between two large business corporations. So often they are treated as no more than collateral damage.”