BY PETER KOMBE
A multi-agency team led by Kenya Maritime Authority has assisted in repatriating 10 Kenyans abandoned in a Mozambican ship, MV Nina.
The seafarers were abandoned for three months in Mozambique by their employer a move that compelled them to beg for food and drinking water from nearby villages in Pemba.
The other parties involved in repatriation exercise include the State Department of Shipping and Maritime, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF)
Addressing the media in Mombasa on Friday, the captain of the ill-fated vessel, Frank Mbotela, admitted that they failed to comply with the right recruitment procedures as required by the KMA.
He says they were recruited by SpanFreight Ltd Mozambique after being promised an employment contract once they arrived in Pemba.
“We sensed all was not well when we arrived in Mozambique. Our passports were confiscated and we were sneaked through the airport. Our passports were not stamped to indicate that we had entered the country,” he said.
The captain of the ill-fated vessel MV Nina says the ship owner owes them an accrued salary of Sh7.416.
He narrated how they all had to bear with tough times while on board the vessel.
Mbotela said “The ship ran out of fuel, had no lighting and no provisions on board, including fresh water and food.
The other seamen include: Mbarak Sultan, Gabriel Okumu, Norman Khan, Okelo Ochola, Raphael Ochina, Mbarak Timami, Haad Mashuhuri, Joseph Mwanyambo and Kali Mwamose.
At the same time, Kenya Maritime Authority Director General Maj (Rtd) George Okong’o urged Kenyan seafarers to adhere to laid down recruitment procedures.
According to him failing to comply with the procedures may expose them to infringement of their rights and freedoms.
He says the authority has only authorized six recruitment and placement agencies.
“We only have six recruitment agencies, these include; Alpha Logistics, Diverse Shipping Limited, the East African Shipping Limited, the MSC Ship Management Limited, and Seaforth K Shipping Limited, Shipmarc Agency and Logistics Limited.
Okong’o says the seafarers were abandoned on board MV Nina in October 2019 in the Port of Pemba.
“On receipt of the abandonment report from Kenyan crew on board MV Nina the authority commenced investigations into the matter guided by the International Labour Organizations (ILO) Maritime Labour Organization 2006”
Meanwhile, Said Ali one of the rescued seafarers and a cadet narrated how the deal turned against them.
Ali said “I want to thank KMA and International Transport Federation. It was my first time as a cadet aboard a ship and it turned out to be an unforgettable ordeal,”