The International Transport Workers Federation says that nine Kenyan seafarers have remained stranded in Malaysia for the last twelve months, with no cash and in dire need of assistance.
The sailors were reportedly stranded after a Zanzibar-flagged ship they were in and owned by a Burundian, suffered mechanical breakdown and was declared unfit for sail by the Malaysian maritime authorities.
“We are meeting tomorrow to see what we can do about them. They have been there for the last one year,” Betty Makena, an International Transport Workers Federation inspector in charge of East Africa said.
“Up to now they have not been paid, according to the reports we have,” Makena added.
The inspector said that the Burundian owner purchased the vessel in Philippines and was set to bring it to Kenya using the Kenyan seafarers.
This comes after 11 Filipino crew members rescued by Kenyan authorities from a captured ship will finally be allowed fly to the Philippines on Monday evening after eight months of confinement.
The 11 were boarding a cargo vessel that authorities in Kenya deemed unfit for sail. Kenya Maritime Authority detained them at the Mombasa Port on December 9 last year and only set foot outside the vessel last Thursday for the first time in eight months.
“They are scheduled to fly out at 5pm aboard a Kenya Airways flight from the Moi International Airport in Mombasa via Nairobi and Hong Kong,” Makena said.
Before Kenyan authorities rescued them, the 11 sailors had spent eight months in deplorable conditions in the cargo ship, with no food, no clean water, no generator and no air conditioning in the vessel.
"The owner of the vessel, a Taiwanese, has also not paid the crew members for the last nine months. He has been dodgy," Said Makena.
Seafarers’ Union of Kenya secretary general Stephen Owaki said maritime laws must be fully enforced to safeguard the welfare of seafarers.
“This is not the only case we have had. There are several others, which we are following up on,” he said.