Sixteen Filipino seafarers have been stranded at the Port of Koh Si Chang in Chonburi for more than a month now after the shipping company they work for failed to pay their wages.
In a Facebook post, one of the crew Mr Armel Olano said that they haven’t been paid for four months and that the company refused to pay them.
“Kami po ang 16 na seaman Pilipino crew ng barkong M/V Panormitis ay humihingi ng tulong sa mga kinauukulan lalo na sa ating mahal na pangulo Rudy Duterte. Sa ngayon kami po ay nasa Thailand, karamihan po sa amin ay tapos na ang kontrata ngunit sa di-kabutihang palad hindi po kami makauwi ng Pilipinas dahil halos apat na buwan na po kaming walang sweldo simula pa ng buwan ng April, 2016 sa kadahilanang wla na raw pang sweldo sa amin na hindi makatarungang dahilan, mula sa barkong pinagtatrabahuhan”, said Olano.
There are 16 Filipinos and 5 Iranians seafarers aboard M/V Panormitis. They work for ARPHAPHIL Shipping Corporation in Makati, Philippines which is under Unibulk Shipping Corporation in Greece.
According to Mr. Ronald Rafanan, the group’s spokesperson, ARPHAPHIL Shipping Corporation has not paid them since April 2016. He added that the group encountered the same problem in Iran where they ducked for nine days for not getting their salary since February.
The group decided to sail to Thailand after signing an agreement with the owner, charterer and the crew. Rafanan said that the agreement stipulated that the company will pay all their unpaid wages and buy them air tickets to Manila. However, the company never fulfilled its promises after arriving in Thailand.
After docking at the Port ofPort of Koh Si Chang in Chonburi Province for more than a month, their food supplies have nearly run out and some of them are in need of medical attention.
“Ang iba po sa aming kasamahan ay nangangailangan ng atensyong medikal. Lubos din po kaming nagaalala dahil ang food supply po namin ay halos pa ubus na rin. Mahal na pangulong Duterte kami po na tinuturing ninyong mga makabagong bayani, ay umaapela sa inyong maawaing puso. Lahat po kami ay pamilyado at may mga umaasang anak, asawa at mga mahal sa buhay. Kami po ay nananalangin na inyong mabigyang pansin ang aming kahilingan sa lalong madaling panahon, maraming salamat po at mabuhay kayo,” Olano added.
The officials of the Philippine Embassy in Thailand visited them on Friday to check the seafarers’ situation. The case has already been reported to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and the Philippine Overseas Employment Agency (POEA) as well.
The group spokesperson also said they are willing to go home anytime as soon as they get their unpaid wages and the plane ticket to Manila which were promised to them.