ITF says crew are sitting ducks on ship off Senegal

The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) has highlighted another case of crew abandonment , this time 32-year-old cargo ship Onda (IMO 8912647), which is sitting without power at anchorage off Senegal, West Africa.

Steve Trowsdale, Inspectorate Coordinator at the ITF, warned that the vessel was unable to display its sidelights, heightening the risk of a collision due to the anchorage’s proximity to a crowded seaway off Dakar.

The ITF has called on the local authorities to assist by moving the vessel. The ITF has also demanded that the Honduras-based shipping company responsible provide for the crew, their safety, and the safety of the vessel.

The Onda has been anchored at Dakar reportedly for more than five months. The 2,650 dwt vessel is reported to have been operating at different periods around Africa in between bouts of engine troubles and periods of lay-up. Apparently it spent much of 2021 laid up in Cameroon with another crew, that believed it too was being abandoned by the owner, who is thought to be in Lebanon.

The engine aboard the vessel has reportedly stopped working, leaving the crew without electricity, navigation lights, or power for cooking and daily necessities. The ITF said that four crewmembers remained stranded aboard the ship, and that they were from Cameroon, Lebanon, Nigeria, and Syria respectively. The ITF said that they were owed between five and nine months back pay.

The management company was said to be providing some provisions to the crew, but the ITF said that they were forced to cook over an open fire on deck. The ITF’s local representative said that the union was ensuring they have enough food and water.

The ITF has asked the Senegalese authorities to move the vessel to dock to reduce the danger.

Under the provisions of the Maritime Labour Convention, the crew has also made a formal request for reparation at the company’s expense.

The ITF said that the situation had been made worse because the vessel’s flag status is uncertain. She was registered in Togo, but that country says that the vessel transferred its flag to Guyana in July 2021. According to the ITF, Guyana has no record of the ship.

The ITF said that, given the chequered history of labour relations on the vessel, it was not confident that the shipowner would respond. The ITF has therefore called on the Senegalese authorities to intervene.

1990-built, unknown-flagged, 1,652 gt Onda is listed on Equasis as owned by Amin Shipping Co SA care of AMJ Marine Services of Chouuefait, Lebanon.