Undercurrent News, 18 Jan 2021 (behind paywall, free trial)
Human Rights at Sea (HRAS) reports that Indonesian crew abandoned ship in Suva claiming they haven’t been paid for a year, had minimum access to communications, and no shore access as ID documents were held back. HRAS was told that COVID restrictions prevented crew from leaving the vessel and wages were delayed due to an issue with transferring vessel ownership from another Chinese entity. The He Shun 38, a Chinese owned, Fijian flagged vessel and its sister vessel, He Shun 6, are both part of the Fiji Fishing Industry Association (FFIA) certification, which should at least meet the basic labour requirements of MSC.
Our thoughts: While we acknowledge COVID has made shore leave for fishers problematic, we think solutions must be found urgently. However, a year without wages is unforgivable, especially given these men are likely supporting struggling families in Indonesia.