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Friday, November 30, 2018

10 foreign workers stranded on ship, not paid wages for 4 months

The 10 foreigners off Kota Kinabalu say they have not been supplied sufficient food and want help to return home.
KOTA KINABALU: Ten foreigners commissioned to repair a ship belonging to a local carrier here claimed they had not been paid a single sen since they first started work in August.
They claimed their employer had also taken away all their documents.
Speaking to reporters through a video call here today, crew leader Khurshid Iqbal said the situation onboard the vessel had become critical as they lacked clean fresh water and food.
They claimed they had not been getting electricity supply for the past one week. Following their complaints, a generator set was sent earlier today.
“Almost all of us have contracted skin diseases now because we are forced to bathe in dirty water, supplied from a rusted water tank.
“The owner sent us food but only enough for two or three days. He told us to ration the food for the next one week.
“We have to resort to fishing to supplement our food supply,” he said.
He said they had been forced to sleep on the deck for the past week as it was too hot to sleep in their cabins.
Eight of the men are from India, one from Pakistan and another from the Maldives. They are aged between 22 and 55.
The team includes an electrician, an engineer, an oiler and trainees.
They were contracted to refurbish the ship, moored less than three nautical miles off Kota Kinabalu, since Aug 4.
They had handed over their passports and other documents to the owner for safekeeping.
Khurshid said the owner had also taken the crew members’ money, amounting to some US$12,000 (RM50,260) in total. This was a form of deposit which was to be reimbursed after the refurbishment work had been completed.
The ship has been out of commission for the past three years but a new owner took over recently.
“We cannot go to Kota Kinabalu to seek medical attention because we don’t have proper documents.
“The port authorities have come and visited us. They were very nice to us.
“However, the owner told us we can do nothing because these port authorities and marine police are all in his hands and that we are knocking on the wrong doors,” he said.
Khurshid said he was told he and his crew members were not the first to be treated this way by the owner as previously, a team of Myanmar workers were also treated shabbily in this manner.
“Our immediate need now is food and water.
“We demand the owner pay our salaries in full.
“We also want help to go home to our families.”
Attempts to contact the owner of the ship were unsuccessful.
The Sabah Marine Department visited the vessel a week ago together with other authorities to check on conditions aboard the ship. - FMT

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