Crew on Turkish ship have not been paid or returned home in two years

Three crew members remaining onboard a Turkish-owned general cargo vessel stuck in Brazil have not been paid in two years, due to “financial problems”.

One Russian and two Turkish nationals remain onboard the singledecker Iron Trader (2,623 dwt, built 1981), which is owned and commercially managed by Turkey’s Iron Shipping Inc.

Seven of the crew have already left the ship but those remaining cannot afford to fly home, Turkey’s Hürriyet Daily News reports.

The Panama-flagged vessel has reportedly been anchored in Brazil since November 2014. Its last AIS update was received four months ago from the port of Vitoria.

The ship left Istanbul on a three-month contract on November 15, 2013, after which it called in Ukraine, Bulgaria and Montenegro.

Iron Shipping Inc reportedly began to experience “financial difficulties” when the vessel called in Nigeria and Equatorial Guinea, the three crew members told Hürriyet. The ship called at Port Harcourt, Nigeria on September 14, 2014, according to AIS data.

The vessel stayed in Nigeria for 255 days, due to problems loading and unloading cargo, crew told press. These problems were resolved once the Turkish embassy intervened and the ship was able to continue to Equatorial Guinea, where it would stay for another 76 days due to more delays in loading.

The port of Vitoria allowed the ship to approach under the condition of not conducting business until its port agency fees had been paid. The fees have still not been remitted, in spite of a Iron Trader‘s representative, Murat Tali, reportedly visiting Brazil to make deals with the agency and port.

“We hope to resolve the problems in the next couple of weeks. We’ll bring the whole crew back to the country as soon as the issues are handled,” Tali told Hürriyet.

Local church and non-governmental organisations in Brazil are aiding the crew with food, fresh water and supplies while the crew wait for progress.


Holly Birkett

Holly is Splash's Online Editor and correspondent for the UK and Mediterranean. She has been a maritime journalist since 2010, and has written for and edited several trade publications. She is currently studying for membership of the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers. In 2013, Holly won the Seahorse Club's Social Media Journalist of the Year award. She is currently based in London.
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