Twelve crewmembers onboard the 1985-built 5,500 dwt oil tanker Viet Tin 01 are desperately looking for help as the vessel has been stranded in Malaysian waters since mid-March and they are running out of food and supplies.
The seafarers onboard the vessel wrote “Help us. No food. No salary” on the hull of the vessel in an effort to seek help and they have also sent out a distress call through a mobile app used by seafarers globally.
In response to the distress call, the National Union of Seafarers Peninsular Malaysia (NUSPM) immediately provided food and essential supplies to the ship and have been coordinating with the Vietnamese government to repatriate the seafarers.
According to NUSPM, the union has arranged a visit onboard the vessel and learnt that the vessel was abandoned by its owner and it didn’t have fuel left which led to terrible living conditions including blackouts and unbearable heat, while the crewmembers didn’t have enough money to hire a boat to go ashore to purchase food supplies. Additionally, the vessel is posing a navigational hazard.
“While NUSPM tries to establish contact with the vessel owner who has clearly abandoned their responsibility for the wellbeing of their crew and the vessel, we want the Vietnamese government to exercise its responsibilities as a signatory to the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) which requires minimum standards to be provided to seafarers and should the owner fail to do so, the government should be able to access funds from the ship owner’s contribution to the Protection and Indemnity (P&I club) coverage,” NUSPM said in a release.
NUSPM has asked the Vietnam Maritime Administration and the Vietnamese embassy in Malaysia to ensure all back wages are paid to the seafarers immediately.
Currently the embassy of Vietnam in Malaysia is trying to find a solution to repatriate the 12 crewmembers.
Ship registration information shows the vessel is owned by Viet Trust Shipping, which owns a fleet of two small tankers.