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Sailors stranded in Pakistan, Somalia and Oman cry out for help

By Philip Mwakio | Published Mon, August 20th 2018 at 00:00, Updated August 19th 2018 at 23:30 GMT +3
Charles Omondi Nyamburi. [Courtesy]

Nine Kenyan sailors are stuck in three foreign countries after their employers reportedly disowned their contractual agreements.

The sailors are stranded in Pakisitan, Somalia and Oman.

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Mr Charles Omondi Nyamburi, a ship engineer, has been stranded in Karachi Port in Pakistan aboard MV Misk, which belongs to Jubba General Trading Company LLC since 2017.

Mr Omondi joined the general cargo vessel flying Panamian flag on January 11, 2016 as a second officer.

He has not been paid for the past 18 months, and now faces arrest from Pakistani authorities following the expiry of his travel documents. His unpaid salaries and wages now total $16,500.00

International Transport Federation (ITF) Mombasa Port Inspector Betty Makena said her organisation and Seafarers Union of Kenya (SUK) had unsuccessfully tried to help Omondi.

"He has a binding contract to work aboard the vessel as an engineer," Ms Makena said.

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In a telephone interview with The Standard yesterday, Omondi said he had suffered a lot, but was unable to leave the vessel due to lack of travel documents.

"I have a family back home in Likoni with school-going children. My first-born is a third year university student at Moi University in Eldoret and she is due to travel back to college at the end of this month yet I have no money to give and I am thousands of miles away," he said.

Kenya Maritime Authority Acting Director General George Macgoye in a letter dated July 23, 2018 to the management of Jubba General Trading Company LLC directed that Omondi be paid his pending dues in full and be repatriated back home.

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Another five Kenyans who were rescued from the high seas off Omani Coast by the Omani Navy after their vessel developed mechanical problems in June are stranded in a hotel in Oman.

Makena said Gabriel Ashiruma, Chalako Mgomba, Mustafa Zwai Mzungu, Bechari Mohamed and Hassan Masoud had been hired by the owner of FV Balpo 1, a Korean fishing vessel, to steer it from Oman to Mogadishu in Somalia.

Another three Kenyans are also unable to travel home from Mogadishu, Somalia after they were dumped at Al Furaat Hotel and Restaurant since July 11, 2018.

Mr Titus Musyoka Kilonzi, who worked as chief engineer aboard Fishing Motor Vessel MVS Torolla in a telephone interview said he, Peter Kabaka and Ronald Munga had not been paid their June and July, 2018, salaries.

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