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Filipino sailors cry foul over treatment

 

Feb 25, 2021 04:37:53 PM

Filipino sailors cry foul over treatment The government has not received any formal request for assistance from the three Filipino sailors stuck in Fiji.

The three men were working onboard the inter-island vessel; the Lomaiviti Princess until two weeks ago when they were told to leave the ship.

The men have no way of returning home unless Goundar Shipping Limited, their employer pays for their return.

The International Transport Workers Federation has been pushing for Goundar Shipping to pay for their return home but so far has been unsuccessful.

The three men are now asking the government to intervene to help the sailors get on the next flight home on March 4.

Minister for Employment Parveen Bala confirms his ministry has not received any formal request for assistance from the three Filipino sailors stuck in Fiji.

Bala said his door is open for dialogue with the three Filipino sailors.

Bala said they will be carrying out an investigation on why the men were laid off last two weeks ago.

He said a separate investigation will be on the shipping company not being able to pay for their fare back home.

One of the sailors who wished to remain anonymous said they had visited the International Transport Workers Federation office to raise their concerns about their work conditions.

"We are foreigners we don't know anything about Fiji. It seems they don't care. They just abandon us."  

“We slept at a rural wharf and then made our way to the nearest town before traveling to the capital Suva for help.

"When we asked for our outstanding wages for one week they said no more you've breached the contract."

“We were left without any money for transport, food, or accommodation and had to sleep at a friend’s house.”

Maritime expert Peter Nuttall said the case was disturbing.

Nuttall said the government should get to the bottom of the situation given that the men must have work permits to enter the country.

The men said they are in limbo with no money and depending on the kindness of strangers for food and shelter.

He said the mental toll has been a heavy one because he can no longer send his pay back home to his family.

By Nacanieli Tuilevuka

 

 

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