Fishermen heading home

AL WILLIAMS
Last updated 05:00 23/02/2013
indonesian fisherman
NEGOTIATIONS: Crew members of fishing boat Pacinui have left Timaru after jumping ship last week and will continue their campaign for fair pay and better treatment.

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Fourteen Indonesian fishermen who were holed up in Timaru amid claims of abuse are homeward bound.

They were due to fly out of New Zealand early this morning after jumping from the chartered deep sea fishing boat Pacinui last week.

It followed a walk-off by 21 Sur Este 707 crew members in Timaru the week before.

Both groups claimed they had been intimidated and cheated by their bosses, and have launched applications for wages and bond money.

Nelson lawyer Peter Dawson is acting for both groups and says the Timaru crew have given him instructions to continue representing them.

The Pacinui is registered in South Korea and chartered by Sanford.

"We will continue to advocate to make their claims in New Zealand," Mr Dawson said.

He confirmed the crew received wage entitlements with what the vessel owners had calculated.

"Whether those are correct or not is up for question.

"We've asked the vessel owners for wage and claims calculations for each of the crew; we'll have a look at the wage calculations and see if they are in accordance with New Zealand law."

He said the vessel owners had not retained money from the Pacinui crew.

Speaking to The Herald through an interpreter at the Anchor Motel yesterday, the Pacinui crew said they were not happy with what they had been offered.

"I know we are owed more than what they've given us; we will still fight and be in contact with the lawyer here," one said.

The crew had paid for their plane tickets home, as per their contracts.

Sanford managing director Eric Barratt had earlier told The Herald the company "would not condone intimidation".

Sanford, which had advised Immigration New Zealand of the dispute, was working with the ship owners and Immigration NZ to find a resolution, he said.

Meanwhile, negotiations are near an end for the 13 crew members left from the Sur Este 707 who have been waiting in Christchurch.

They were seeking the return of bond money they paid to secure employment, plus two months' salary held by Korean agents.

Mr Dawson said all but three of them were keen to go home and the crew still had not been paid the two months' salary held by Korean agents.

Ten crew members were scheduled to fly out today and three want to stay until the matter is settled.

Sur Este 707 is owned by South Korean company Dong Nam Company and chartered by Timaru company South East Resources.

"There is a consistent theme coming through from all these Korean flag vessels that they are paying lip service to their obligations under new immigration instructions; I don't know how we regulate that," Mr Dawson said.

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- The Timaru Herald

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