Fourteen crew members aboard AFL New England are hopingthey"ll be returning to sea soon. "We"ve been in contact with the captain and crew andalso with the German owners of the vessel and everybody is hopefula new charter for the ship will be found soon," GerardBradbury, an investigator with the International TransportationWorkers" Federation in Halifax said Thursday. "There were some initial concerns about fresh food and waterand these have been resolved." Bradbury said he also understood the crew members were paid onschedule. The sailors have been marooned in the Bedford Basin since lastFriday when New York-based American Feeder Lines International saidit was shutting down its chartered container service because itlost a couple of German investors after the nine-month old shuttleservice attracted too few users to generate a profit. |
"The owners of the ship are ... optimistic they will soon have a new operator for thevessel," Bradbury said. The container ship remains under charter to American Feeder andremains that company"s responsibility, A representative ofRass Shipping, in Bramstedt, Germany, said Thursday. On Monday, Rudy Mack, chief operating officer of now defunctAmerican Feeder, said the idled vessel is a valuable asset, whichthe owners want to back to work as soon as possible.
American Feeder had the ship chartered for its weekly shuttlebetween Nova Scotia and New England. The Mission to Seafarers in Halifax has also been in contact withcrew members. "The guys are in good spirits and are carrying on business asusual," said Maggie Whittingham-Lamont, a co-ordinator withthe mission. A local boat operator brought a couple of mission representativesto the vessel on Thursday.
They brought the sailors some freshsupplies and cellular telephones so they could contact familymembers. "Everybody is doing well. It is not unusual for people inthis industry to spend time at anchor," saidWhittingham-Lamont. She said the crew members — including some Russians,Ukrainians and Filipinos — are anxious to hear positive newsfrom the German owners of the vessel.
"They are also concerned that since they remain in port theycannot make the additional overtime pay that makes it worthwhilegoing to sea," she said. ( firstname.lastname@example.org ).
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