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VLADIVOSTOK, October 10 (Itar-Tass) —— The Russian crew of the freighter Sea Master-1 realizes the danger of Somali pirates, but keeps sailing with the relief supplies from the Port Sudan (Sudan) to the Kenyan port Mombasa on Monday. The Sea Master-1 freighter has four security guards onboard and a NATO warship is convoying the bulk carrier, the Russian sailors told the Far Eastern regional branch of the Russian Trade Union of Sailors by phone on Monday.
The freighter is to arrive in Mombasa with the relief supplies (about 5,000 tonnes of wheat) on October 15-16. The Sea Master-1 crew is made of 20 sailors from the Far Eastern port of Nakhodka. Seven sailors demand replacement from the shipowner in the port of Mombasa and the delivery to the homeland, the rest of them did not make the foresaid demands.
Under the rules of the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF), in which the Russian Trade Union of Sailors is incorporated, the sailing in the piracy-hazardous zone envisages a double salary for the sailors, the chairman of the Far Eastern regional branch of the Russian Trade Union of Sailors, Nikolai Sukhanov, told Itar-Tass by phone. The Sea Master-1 crew did not receive the double salary. The Sea Master-1 crew is entitled to other major payments in case of heavy aftermaths of the clash with pirates, but the Russian sailors did not receive any compensations. The sailors, who insist on the replacement from the ship, demand the full remuneration for them on the ITF rates and the Russian trade union supports these demands.
Sukhanov noted that an official of the Sea Master-1 shipowner was to arrive in Nakhodka from Sudan in order to solve the crew’s problems in the country up to probable changes in the Sea Master-1 sailing routes. The Sea Master-1 freighter is sailing in the Gulf of Aden, where the pirates are rampaging. The pirates are keeping 15 ships, 277 sailors in captivity. The pirates killed 15 sailors in the attacks on the ships.