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Owner of detained Turkish cargo ship owes Russian sailors back pay of $90,000

Ealier it was reported that almost a dozen of sailors had not been paid since early June

ROSTOV-ON-DON, November 16. /TASS/. The owner of the arrested Turkish vessel, Streamline, anchored off Istanbul, owes the Russian crew more than $90,000, the cargo ship’s captain, Bakhman Bagirov, told TASS.

There were earlier reports that the 11 sailors, most of whom are Russians, haven’t been paid since June 3. The ship’s owner planned to pay the crew in September, but postponed the payment later. According to Bagirov, Streamline’s owner has pledged to pay them the three months’ salary by the end of November.

"The crew has been locked inside the ship for five months without going ashore. <...> Salary arrears total over $90,000, no one has received a red cent since June," Bagirov pointed out.

He added that there were previously 12 men aboard, but two of them had flown back to Russia with one leaving the ship penniless, and the other receiving a third of his arrears. Now there are ten people on board the Streamline vessel, nine of whom are Russians and a Ukrainian cook. "According to the letter, they are promising to pay back the three months owed before the end of November and send one crew member back home with full pay," the captain stated, noting that there is enough food aboard so far, and the crew’s health is satisfactory.

"There is the last document left, which they have been waiting for for approximately a month, it was prepared in Belize, where the company is registered," Bagirov said.

The sailors had previously gone on a hunger strike to protest the unpaid wages, but stopped after receiving a letter of guarantee from the ship’s owner.

Russian Consulate General in Istanbul, Andrey Podelyshev, told TASS that the Streamline vessel under the flag of the Comoro Islands had been sold to Turkey’s Akca Shipping corporation, according to its previous owner, Seamann Investitionen Ltd. It sailed to Turkey for maintenance, and anchored at the port of Istanbul on June 11. At the request of the Turkish company Alpex, which allegedly got Streamline on a lease. On June 17, an Istanbul court ordered to arrest the ship, Podelyshev explained. Streamline doesn’t owe anything to the Turkish government.

The Russian diplomat also said that the "new owner of the vessel has confirmed his willingness to fully pay off the crew once they go ashore and ensure the Russian seamen get back home safely after taking ownership of the cargo vessel upon a court order.".