ITF: 10 Abandoned Kenyan Seafarers Return Home

Ten Kenyan seafarers who were stranded in Mozambique for four months after their vessel broke down have been repatriated, the International Transport Workers’ Federation announced.

The mariners had travelled to Pemba, Mozambique through Tanzania in August 2019, to work on an EU-bound vessel, MV Nina. According to ITF, they were left stranded on the vessel, which had experienced technical problems and was later found to be unseaworthy.

The union added that the workers didn’t have contracts or adequate food onboard, stressing that the Iranian owner of the vessel refused to meet its obligations and even threatened the seafarers.

The case was reported to Pemba Maritime Authority and the ITF Africa regional office, which swung into action with the help of the ITF’s inspectorate in Mombasa, Kenya, and the SINPOCAF – an ITF affiliate in Mozambique.

Raul Sengo, SINPOCAF’s general secretary, who is also a member of the ITF Africa regional committee, travelled to Pemba to facilitate repatriation of the seafarers.

“African seafarers face low wages, mistreatment from employers and lack of jobs. We call upon governments in the region to work with global unions to develop programmes that support seafarers,” ITF inspector Betty Makena said.

ITF Africa regional secretary, Mohammed Safiyanu, added: “The ITF is always using its capacity and international networks to assist transport workers. We call upon all the relevant stakeholders to work with us to make the lives of seafarers even better.”

The seafarers arrived in Nairobi, Kenya, on January 7, before travelling home to Mombasa, the union informed.

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