Fishermen jump ship after dispute

MEGAN MILLER
Last updated 05:00 15/02/2013

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A group of 14 Indonesian fishermen have jumped ship and are staying in Timaru after an apparent dispute with their employer, Sanford Limited.

Immigration New Zealand (INZ) confirmed that 14 crew members from the chartered fishing vessel Pacinui were staying at a motel in town.

The Pacinui, which is registered in South Korea, sailed from the port on Wednesday night with 21 remaining crew members.

The vessel docked in Timaru early on Tuesday.

INZ was making inquiries and had been in contact with Sanford to assess the full extent of the issues, INZ fraud and compliance manager Peter Elms said.

The agency had not yet determined whether it would take further action, or whether a full investigation would be conducted.

Sanford managing director Eric Barratt said he could not comment on the nature of the dispute.

"It's an issue we're trying to work through," he said.

"We have alerted the authorities and are trying to work out what the issue is, but it's not at all clear at this stage."

Last year the company faced allegations of dangerous working conditions aboard foreign chartered fishing vessels, but it claimed that an investigation showed no crew mistreatment.

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- The Timaru Herald

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