Vietnamese firm asked to bring sailors stranded in Malaysia home
A message for help is painted on a hull of a ship near the Johor state, Malaysia by Vietnamese sailors stranded on the ship since March.
Photo courtesy of the National Union of Seafarers of Peninsular Malaysia.
Vietnam’s Foreign Ministry has requested shipping firm Thuan Thien Ltd. to pay the salaries of and repatriate 12 Vietnamese sailors stranded in Malaysia due to the Covid-19 outbreak.
The 12 sailors went to a location near Johor state on March 10 to sail a ship back to Vietnam under a contract with the firm. But Malaysia’s movement control order to combat the Covid-19 pandemic meant they have been stranded on the ship since March, Malaysian news portal Free Malaysia Today reported.
As food ran out, the sailors painted a message on the ship’s hull saying, “Help us. No food. No salary.”
Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Le Thi Thu Hang said at a press briefing on Thursday: “The owner of the ship, Thuan Thien Limited Liability Company, has failed to pay their salaries or costs incurred since May 26 due to the pandemic.”
The foreign ministry has asked the Vietnam Maritime Administration to instruct Thuan Thien Ltd. to pay the sailors’ salaries and costs as contracted and meet Malaysia’s demands so that the ship can leave for Vietnam.
“If necessary, Vietnamese diplomatic agencies will discuss with Malaysia the procedures … to bring the ship back to Vietnam,” Hang added.