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Egyptian authorities come under fire for sluggish crew repatriation efforts


A Turkish captain finally gets to head home after a year in Egypt
The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) stepped in again for a ship captain trapped onboard after the Egyptian shipowner abandoned its vessel in June 2020.

Released only with ITF’s intervention

Cpt Kara was stuck in Egypt for more than a year as a court-appointed legal guardian of the bulk carrier MV Kenan Mete. Shipowner, Blodwen Marina, refused to pay the crew and abandoned the vessel, leaving the group to fend for themselves onboard. The Egyptian authorities stepped in and “appointed” Cpt Kara as the vessel’s legal guardian. He was thereafter disallowed from leaving the ship. The ITF lobbied for Cpt Kara’s release for two months before the authorities finally approved the repatriation.

The ship was put for auction and no takers. The insurer only provided Cpt Kara and his crew with food, water and basic amenities. The ITF reported the crew’s release was successful between October 2020 and January 2021, they were also paid four months’ wages. Strangely, the same did not happen for Cpt Kara.

ITF’s Arab World and Iran network coordinator Mohamed Arrachedi, who assisted in Kara’s release said, “It was only when ITF took up his case and we organised a replacement as judicial guard. Cpt Kara was finally allowed to go home after months of campaigning!” What was most bizarre was Cpt Kara remained disallowed to leave despite being transferred to a hotel when the vessel’s power failed.

Mohammad Aisha, a seafarer who dealt with a similar situation heavily criticised the Egyptian port states. He lamented, “We must reflect on the fact that it took an organisation like the ITF getting involved; arranging a reliever as legal guard, and applying to a court to secure this outcome. Repatriating an abandoned seafarer should be more straight-forward than that! Port States like Egypt have a moral duty to help abandoned crew get home. Egypt has an opportunity now to reform its legal guardianship system – and we hope that they take up this opportunity.”


Crewing Online News Team
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