x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Talks to get detained ship's crew back to sea

Vietnamese sailors, stuck over repair bill, also waiting for pay

A ship and its crew of 19 have been detained at Jebel Ali Port for more than two months over an unpaid debt, the Vietnamese Embassy says.

The Diamond Way has been detained by authorities because it owes more than US$80,000 (Dh294,000) to the port, said Phong Nguyen, first secretary at Vietnam's Embassy to the UAE, which is dealing with the case.

The debt was incurred from repair costs. Diamond Way's owners have also failed to pay salaries to the crew on board for about 10 months, Mr Nguyen said.

He said that even if the debt to the port is settled, the ship's crew are refusing to sail before their salaries are paid.

The ship belongs to Vinashinlines, a subsidiary of the Vietnam National Shipping Lines.

Mr Nguyen said embassy workers visited the crew on Wednesday and gave them money to cover daily expenses.

"Everything is good. They still have food but because there is no oil, they have no electricity," he said.

"Our government is now in discussions to solve this problem."

Reports in the Vietnamese press show the country's ministry of foreign affairs is coordinating with UAE authorities to settle the issue.

The ministry's Luong Nghi said it had sent a document to agencies in the UAE and to the ship's owner, asking for help in returning the ship and its crew to Vietnam as soon as possible.