Turkish crew stuck abroad with financial problems for three years

Turkish crew stuck abroad with financial problems for three years

Ceyhun Kuburlu - ISTANBUL
Turkish crew stuck abroad with financial problems for three years Turkish Iron Trader ship with ten crew members has not been able to return to Turkey for the last two years due to financial problems. Seven of the crew have left the ship, but the remaining three are still on board, off the coast of Brazil, asking for their unpaid fees. 

The ship left Istanbul on Nov. 15, 2013, for a three-month business contract. The Iron Trader, owned by Iron Shipping INC, passed through Ukraine, Bulgaria and Montenegro without any problems, but the company started to face financial difficulties in Nigeria and Equatorial Guinea, according to three crew members still been on the ship. 

These crew members, one Russian and two Turkish, have been waiting to be paid for the last two years.

They are currently being aided by a church and several non-governmental organizations in Brazil. 

“We do not have any money to go back to our counties. Even when we manage to go to back, we know we will not be paid,” said one crew member, asking for help from the authorities. 

The ship, which flies a Panama flag, started to suffer from financial difficulties when docked off Nigerian waters, according to crew members. Due to several cargo loading-unloading problems, the ship stayed there in 255 days. After the Turkish embassy there stepped in, problems were solved and the ship continued to Equatorial Guinea, where it would stay for the next 76 days due to more delays in loading. 

The ship reached Brazil on Nov. 30, 2014, but further difficulties were ahead for the crew: The representative agency had not been paid by Iron Shipping INC. 

The ship’s captain, Ali Özdeniz, asked for help from the Brazilian port and a church near the port gave a hand, sending food and fresh water to the ship personnel. 

The port authority let the ship approach under the condition of not conducting business until the required fees were paid. 

A representative from Iron Trader, Murat Tali, then visited Brazil to make deals with the agency and port. The ship is still in Brazil though, as Tali did not keep any promises to the stakeholders, according to crew members. 

“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 daily Hürriyet.