x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Vietnamese ship's crew stuck in Dubai port upset by lack of progress

The state-owned Diamond Way cannot leave the UAE because it owes more than Dh294,000 in berthing charges to Jebel Ali Port authorities.

Crew members rest outside their cabins because of the unbearable heat inside.
Crew members rest outside their cabins because of the unbearable heat inside.

DUBAI // The captain of a Vietnamese ship stuck in Jebel Ali Port for two months because of unpaid port dues yesterday said his crew was depressed and keen to go home as soon as possible.

The state-owned Diamond Way cannot leave the UAE because it owes more than Dh294,000 in berthing charges to Jebel Ali Port authorities. The ship's 19 sailors, who have not received salaries for several months, have been stuck on the vessel since August 1.

"We have no electricity, no food and no money," said Than Anh Duc, 38, master of the Diamond Way. "We don't know when we will go back. We are only waiting. The owners are doing nothing for us.

"The crew are depressed and upset but are not angry with me. They want to leave as early as possible. It is very hot in the ship."

The vessel, which was carrying steel pipes, had sailed to Gujarat in India and Oman before arriving in Dubai to unload the cargo.

Mr Duc said he had been unable to reach the ship owners, Vinashinlines, a subsidiary of the Vietnam National Shipping Lines. "We are angry with the company. There is no information. They are in financial crisis," he said. "I can contact my family but they are not happy about this situation. I have not sent them money for several months."

Mr Duc, earns US$2,500 (Dh9,180) a month but has not been paid for four months. Some of his crew had not received wages for 10 months.

The National Shipping Services, a local agent for the vessel, said it was waiting for funds from the owner so it could pay the port dues.

"We have been sending messages to them and trying to call their operations manager," said a spokesman. "They are free to leave provided they pay the port dues and the vessel is sufficiently stocked up with fuel ... the crew want to go back but without salaries ... they don't want to leave because they are scared the ship owner will forget them."

Vietnamese Embassy officials, who met the crew last week, said they had written to the authorities concerned in their country.

"We have reported the situation to the vessel owner and our government," said Tran Ngoc Thach, the Vietnamese ambassador. "We are still awaiting a response."

pkannan@thenational.ae