Aug 07, 2020 News
A crew of nine Guyanese men is currently stranded aboard a ship in Trinidadian waters. According to reports the crew has been stranded for the past three weeks.
Information reaching this media house suggests that the relevant authorities in Trinidad have detained the vessel, Caerus Kingstown, because of an ongoing court matter between the ship’s operators and an engineering company it owes money.
Kaieteur News understands, however, that the crew members are not involved in the matter and are free to go. Nevertheless, the men are unable to leave the vessel because the ship’s operators have failed to pay them for some five months now.
The Guyanese crewmen are also owed months of vacation money and allowances. One of the crewmen told this newspaper even if they wanted to leave they cannot since they have no money. He claimed that they have been working for quite a while now without pay or vacation and are eager to see their families.
This media house has learnt that the operator of the vessel is a Trinidadian Company called Ocean Star Shipping Limited which specializes in the distribution of TCL cement to Caribbean Islands.
It was also found out that Ocean star owes large sums of cash to D&D Engineering Company Limited for months of mechanical maintenance for the vessel it operates. A spokesperson of the company owed, told Kaieteur News the matter has been brought before the court and the vessel cannot leave Trinidad waters until the debt is paid.
One of the ISM managers of the company, Banie Gajadar, was contacted about the matter. He said that it is indeed true that the vessel was detained some 10 days ago leaving the men stranded. Gajadar also confirmed that his company has not paid its crewmen for quite a while now. The men, he said, are currently being represented by a legal body in the court with regards to their non-payments. When asked if he had any idea when the men will be paid, he responded, “Well we have a matter before the court regarding the crewmen’s pay and also over some money owed for some maintenance works carried out on the vessel by another company. When the matter is over a decision will most likely be taken for the company to pay the men and the engineering company it owes.”
Gajadar outlined too, that if the company does not come up with the money, then the vessel it operates might have to be auctioned off or sold to pay its debts and workers.
He added that for the time being, the stranded Guyanese crewmen are well taken care of and efforts are being made to transfer them to another vessel for repatriation to Guyana. If they are repatriated before the decision is made, he said, they will have no need to worry because their money will be paid through the legal body that is currently representing them.
Kaieteur News however understands that Ocean Star Shipping Limited also owes the rightful owners of the ship.
A source detailed that Ocean Star rented the ship from a St Lucian company called Golden Hinds Limited and has not been paying up.
When Kaieteur News contacted Golden Hinds Limited to verify this, a representative of the company said this was indeed true. The representative furnished this media house with a contract document between his company and Ocean Star. It was also explained by the representative that the agreement was that once Ocean Star covers all of its expenses of maintaining the vessel, whatever remains must be paid to Golden Hinds as rental. However, since the agreement was signed back in April of 2018, Golden Hinds was only paid US$10,000 for rental.
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