VLADIVOSTOK, October 6 (RIA Novosti) - The Russian crew of a commercial vessel impounded for debts in Bulgaria's Burghas sea port has asked a trade union federation to step in, a federation official said on Tuesday.
The Southern Pearl NZ, flying the flag of Panama, was arrested in July after the owner failed to pay for repairs carried out in the Black Sea port. The ship arrived in Bulgaria in March.
"The owner has not been in contact, the ship and crew have been left on their own," said Pyotr Osichansky, an inspector with the International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF), citing the sailors' letter.
Osichansky said the sailors asked to help them have their wages, which they have not received since January and which now total of 150,000 rubles ($5,000), paid. They also requested assistance in repatriation to Vladivostok.
The sailors ran out of food and medicine on September 26, and onboard communications have been switched off over payment arrears. They have enough fuel for three more days, and there is a danger of infections as garbage has not been removed from the vessel, the sailors said.
This is one in a series of incidents involving Russian sailors abroad.
Osichansky said the ship belongs to the same firm which owns the Piryit bulk carrier that is stranded near the port of Cristobal in Panama after running aground there. The owner is a firm registered in the British Virgin Islands, which has a management company in Vladivostok, Russia's Far East.
Three Russian sailors from another vessel that has been anchored off Dubai since early August began a hunger strike last week. They are demanding repatriation and the repayment of wage arrears, and refuse to perform their duties.
The Magdalena is owned by a German company and flying the flag of Antigua and Barbuda. The vessel's owner, a German company, reportedly owes the crew $230,000 in wage arrears.