|Abandonment ID:|| 00315|
|Ship name:||Mekong Spirit|
|7-digit IMO no.:||9118513|
|Port of abandonment:||Port of Souda, Crete|
|Reporting Member Govt. or Org.:||Govt. of Ukraine|
|Circumstances:||The vessel was detained on 25 May 2017 in the Dodekanisos Sea by the Greek Coast Guard as the result of a naval inspection of the ship's cargo. The vessel is currently berthed by a dock controlled by the Hellenic Navy in the port of Souda on the island of Crete.|
The Embassy was informed that there has been no fuel left on board since August 2017. It means that the seafarers are left without electricity and can not use facilities to cook the food, have a shower, use air conditioning etc. The difficult conditions on board has already caused deterioration in health of the crew members. Furthermore, the services of a visiting doctor are only available upon request instead of proper medical treatment in hospital.
|Payment status:||14 November 2017: Payment Pending|
The ship owner hasn't been paying wages for months.
|Comments and Observations:||International Maritime Organisation (14 November 2017)|
From: Jan de Boer
Sent: mardi 14 novembre 2017 14:18
To: Noh, Jinhak
Cc: 'Mission of Ukraine to the IMO' ;
Subject: FW: m/v “Mekong Spirit” (IMO Number 9118513)
Herewith I refer to my email correspondence this morning with Mr. Vitalii Moshkivskyi, Counsellor and Deputy Permanent Representative of Ukraine to IMO, and the attached letter from the Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Ukraine to IMO regarding the crew-of the m/v “Mekong Spirit” (IMO Number 9118513, Flag of the Republic of Malta).
Please could you deal with this issue regarding the crew-of the m/v “Mekong Spirit” (IMO Number 9118513 as a new abandonment case reported by Ukraine? The case is connected with a criminal investigation but the condition of the crew seems to be an abandonment case which would qualify for inclusion in the Joint IMO/ILO Database on abandonment of seafarers.
Govt. of Greece (1 December 2017)
COMMENTS BY THE HELLENIC MINISTRY OF MARITIME AFFAIRS AND INSULAR POLICY ON THE REPORTING
OF VESSEL “MEKONG SPIRIT” (IMO 9118513) AS ABANDONED IN THE DATABASE ON REPORTED
INCIDENTS OF ABANDONMENT OF SEAFARERS
1. The vessel “MEKONG SPIRIT” (IMO 9118513) under the flag of the Republic of Malta, is
currently in the naval port of Souda Crete. The vessel and her crew are subject to a criminal
investigation, conducted under the competent and independent judicial authorities of the Hellenic
Republic. In this context, restrictive measures concerning prohibition of exit from the Hellenic
Republic are in place for the members of the crew and the Master of the vessel is under custody.
2. On 26.11.2017, “MEKONG SPIRIT” was detained following a port state control (PSC)
inspection by the competent PSC officers. In the context of the PSC inspection, several deficiencies
were found, including non-operation of electrical engines due to lack of fuel and expired seafarers’
employment agreements for some members of the crew. It also seems that the last payment of
seafarers’ wages was made in August 2017 and no payment receipts were on board. Given the fact
the abovementioned deficiencies refer to the implementation of MLC, 2006, ILO and other
stakeholders were informed about the case and the detention of the vessel.
3. Regarding the living conditions of the crew members, please be informed that: (a) food,
drinking water and personal care supplies are provided by the agent at the request of the managing
company. Furthermore, meals and access to water provision facilities from the dock are also
provided by the relevant Hellenic Navy Services, (b) a building near the ship has been granted by
the competent authorities of the Hellenic Navy, for the exclusive use of the members of the crew,
with electricity supply, air conditioning, drinking water facilities, facilities for preparing meals,
refrigerator, laundry and hygiene/sanitary facilities, tables and seats (c) medical care is provided
when needed by the agent of the ship at the General Hospital of Chania and required medicines are
also provided by the agent for the ship’s medicine chest and (d) the issue of outstanding wages of
the members of the crew is currently under investigation by the competent Hellenic authorities who
have repeatedly called the shipowner to provide information on this particular issue, notwithstanding
the existence of a financial security system in accordance with Standard A2.5.2. MLC 2006
Govt. of Malta (4 December 2017)
From: Cutajar Gordon at Transport
Sent: 04 December 2017 13:42
To: Jan de Boer
Subject: New abandonment case notification: Mekong Spirit (IMO Number 9118513)
Mr de Boer
Thank you for your e-mail dated 20 November 2017.
The Directorate is aware of the situation which the seafarers on board the MEKONG SPIRIT (IMO NO: 9118513) are facing and we have been following the matter since the first day of the vessel’s detention (25 May 2017).
Following representations which were made with the pertinent Greek authorities, the Directorate has been informed that the MEKONG SPIRIT is still under investigation by the Greek judicial authorities and that the nature of the investigation does not allow the seafarers to leave Greece. Provisions and water are being provided to the vessel.
International Chamber of Shipping (11 December 2017)
UNION OF GREEK SHIPOWNERS
Dear Mrs. Shaw,
Re: New abandonment case notification: Mekong Spirit (IMO Number 9118513)
Further to our email dated 17.11.2017 on the above subject, please note that in response to our query to the competent Department of the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Insular Policy on the living conditions of Mekong Spirit’s crew members, we’ve just received the following information:
The crew members are banned from leaving the country. As regards their living conditions, they are being supplied with food, drinking water and hygienic items by the ship’s agent. Given the lack of fuel, the Port Authorities have offered the use of a building located close to the ship, with power supply, air conditioning, drinking water, laundry and cooking facilities, a fridge, a dining room and bathrooms. Extra meals and water supplies are offered by the Naval Arsenal of Crete. In case of illness, medical treatment is offered in the General Hospital of Chania, while the ship’s agent takes care of the medical supplies needed on board.
The crew’s wages have not been paid since August 2017. This issue is under investigation by the Port Authorities awaiting relevant information from the ship’s agent. There is a valid financial security certificate on board the ship according to Standard A2.5.2. of MLC (2006). The seafarer’s employment agreements (officers and some of the crew members) have expired. The payment of wages after a 2 month period appears to be the company’s policy.
Finally, please see attached Report of Significand Deficiencies issued by the PSC inspector.
Attach: 1 Union of Greek Shipowners
Other (22 March 2018)
To: Paris MoU
Attn: Mr. Jinhak Noh
Ref: MV Mekong Spirit – PSC detention / fine at Souda Bay 22/03/2018
Dear Mrs. Droppers,
I write with reference to your correspondence with our expert Mr. Christos V. Georgousopoulos dated 25 March, 2018 where we thank you for your kindly reply. Taking the opportunity, we would like to lodge a formal complain with Paris MoU also informing IMO regarding PSC fine imposed by Port State Control Authority of Crete, Greece as a result of inspection conducted on board of a/m vessel by Lieutenant J.G. HCG Antonios Zacharioudakis at Suda Bay NATO Naval Base on 26/11/17. First and foremost, we would like to draw your attention to the fact that PSC inspection has been conducted on board in violation of UNCLOS Article 218 / 219 as the vessel was not “voluntarily” within the port and her condition does not “threatens damage to the marine environment”,but has been unlawfully arrested by the Greek State in high seas / in violation of her innocent passage conditions. Secondly Owners applied for Class surveyor permission to attend the vessel on 5/09/17 and received a verbal approval on 26/09/17. By the time Mr. Aleksei Uliankin already was not employed by the Greek office of Russian Class and therefore was not able to initiate an inspection. Please note that PSC permission has been requested on 25/11/17 and actual inspection already took place next day. Thirdly all most severe deficiencies are related to non-availability of the bunker on board. Due to the vessel unlawful detention Owners were not in position to provide fuel to the vessel as all usual suppliers were put at risk by dealing with the Owners who are alleged in being involved in terrorism related activities. It is well known fact to local authorities that owners requested several times vessel to be supplied with bunker from local store, but same has been refused. We are socked by some deficiencies like Item 12 Master missing. Master has spent almost 6 months in jail without trial, while local authority forbids the Owners to place a new Master on board. Item 10 DOC invalid, we enclose actual DOC for your guidance which was and still valid at the time of inspection. Item 07 Nautical publications were valid at the time of vessel detention in May 2017 and were valid till expected completion of her intender voyage.
**continued in next commentary**
Other (23 March 2018)
**continuation from previous commentary**
Fourthly most of the required inspections cannot be performed locally due to lack of appropriate service, like Viking Life Saving life raft exchange service. From the pastexperience we might be quite certain that Owners would face with entrance permission issues or denial as well as denial of certain services being performed inside the military facility. It goes without saying that while the vessel was without power,owners supplied portable generators on board to provide at least minimal living conditions for the crew to be able to cook, have lighting and store provisions. Notwithstanding the fact that actual type and way of the placement of the generators has been previously agreed with authorities, same has not been permitted for use after supply and written confirmation from the vessel Class that there have no any objections for their use. On the contrary, at port of Lavrio, where the vessel is presently located, no questions has been asked and the generators has been put for work almost immediately without even notice to the Owners.
Fifthly vessel Ballast Management Plan has been prepared and approved by Class on 18/05/2017 however, as mentioned above the Class was not able to attend due to the described circumstances and local bureaucracy. Finally while the local authorities are pretending that vessel is unsafe / unseaworthy, same fact did not preclude them on several occasions to shift the vessel notwithstanding owners protests and later even to tow the ship to other port without taking in to consideration Class requirements in respect of safety of the vessel and the crew that were grossly neglected and could lead to a major disaster involving injury or death of the crew as well as sinking of the vessel and pollution due to a combination of 800 mt of fuel oil and cargo of explosives present on board. Considering actual facts, we find that applicable measures are discretionary and inappropriate.
As a matter of fact, other vessels under arrest like vessels like MV Andromeda IMO 7614666 detained in January 2018 and being on Paris MoU WGB list and MV RS 300 97 IMO 7645380 detained in November 2016 has not been inspected by PSC, while MV Mekong Spirit was inspected even while under Flag detention and inside a military facility. Notwithstanding vessel present circumstances and scarce resources Owners have done and keep doing their best to maintain the vessel and the crew in the best viable conditions where all reported deficiency represent a direct consequence of the vessel unlawful detention, which otherwise would not occur. Owners strongly protest against the inspection and consider imposed fine as unfair, discretional and illegal and demand same to with withdrawn and vessel re-inspected once she is free.
Other (22 October 2020)
All of the crew that were on board the MV Mekong Spirit (IMO number 9118513; flag: Malta) have been recently acquitted from all charges by the Greek court and the Master has been repatriated home after 3,5 years of illegal detention.
Other (17 February 2023)
As managers acting on behalf of the owners, we hereby kindly ask you to review the report of the a/m vessel and update the status of her alleged abandonment. Since the vessel's illegal detention in Greece, the owners have done their utmost to provide legal defence to the crew that resulted in their unconditional acquittal, and arranged for their repatriation, medical assistance and provisions, while on board the ship. Recently the owners ensured a favourable compensation award and are now working toward its enforcement in Greece. As the final step, the owners are engaged with Flag State to submit the case to ITLOS to ensure proper compensation and justice be served for the crew and their families who are now also victims of war with Russia.
We would be more than pleased to provide all the relevant evidence for the case revision and appreciate your kind advise in due course.