A seafarer, who simply identified himself as Benson Erefa, has called for help for himself and nine others who are currently working on board a vessel called MT BARNET.
Erefa, alleged that the two officers and eight ratings (all Nigerians) on board the tanker are being subjected to untold hardship.
According to him, they got a job as sailors on the ship MT BARNET, after first being put on a previous ship; MT West Minister in Lagos.
Narrating their experiences in a Facebook post last weekend, the distraught sailor appealed to the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) to come to their rescue.
He claimed also that their ordeal has already being communicated to NIMASA and awaiting response.
He wrote: “I joined the vessel two days, but what I saw was hell on hell”. On behalf of two officers and 8 ratings (10 Nigerians) on board UML vessel MT BARNET, I appeal to everyone to save us out of this mess”.
Making a passionate appeal to NIMASA, Berefa said: “On behalf of Dare Olunifesimi Olubunmi – 3rd officer and Suluka Temitope Abass-4th Engr, we hereby appeal to your office to repatriate us back to our country.
Giving further details about their ordeal, Berefa explained that he and others seafarers boarded the first vessel in Lagos, before they were transferred to MT BARNET on September 29, 2020.
“We boarded MT West Minister on 29th Sept 2020 from Lagos, under the directive of Uml- Good Work Marine. We were later transferred to MT BARNET from Lome Anchorage”.
According to him, after boarding MT BARNET, the seafarers discovered, “that the contract agreement was different from the one the previously offered us”, even as he alleged that, “we signed the later contract under duress”
He also alleged that, “there is no food provisions on board for more than 3weeks, the 8 Nigerians we met on board confirm that to us.”.
“The Russian captain sell all items on board including drinking water, soap, toothpaste, internet, etc. A unit of drinking water is sold for 5dollars.”
“When we got on board, we realised the tax alone apart from any other deductions is 1/4 of each Nigerian crew salary (gross pay) including both of us, which was not clearly stated out in the duress contract
We realized the vessel (MT BARNET) is not sea worthy after familiarization, we have been sleeping in cargo control room pending the disembarkation of Filipinos off signers”, he wrote
He made a passionate appeal for help to get back ashore.
“We appeal to you to help us with all your power and get us out of here, and warned prospective sailors to stay off MT BARNET and all that is connected with it
Shipping Position Daily confirmed that, MT BARNET is currently at port LOME ANCHORAGE, after a voyage of 18 hours, 54 minutes originating from port TAKORADI, Ghana.
The Oil/Chemical Tanker that was built in 2008 and is sailing under the flag of Marshall Island. It’s carrying capacity is 13020 t DWT and her current draught is reported to be 5.5 meters. Her length overall (LOA) is 128.6 meters and her width is 20.4 meters.