Crew abuse on board Blumenthal vessels continues

Credit: Dietmar Hasenpusch

The crew of the Liberian-flagged Lita off the coast of Brazil were forced to crack into the emergency water on the vessels’ lifeboat to survive.

Last week, a seafarer on the 11,121 gt bulk carrier called on the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) after attempts to get fresh supplies on board the vessel were unsuccessful.

“We take water from [the] lifeboat,” he wrote. “Still no supply. We’ve a few more bottles, maybe in the next two days we will get some. This is the first time we get water for a whole day.”

The crew had previously collected rain water with tarpaulins after the ship’s supply ran out.

“Their diet is bread and water, without the water,” ITF Maritime Co-ordinator Jacqueline Smith said in a press release.

The ITF alerted the Liberian authorities a week ago about the shortage, but until now there is no response.

It has been targeting Johann M K Blumenthal, claiming systematic abuse of seafarers’ rights across the fleet and demonstrating outside German embassies.

The ITF has also invited Blumenthal crew and shore-based employees to share their experiences over social media.

Whistleblowers are detailing cases of forced overtime, holding of wages, and recrimination based on nationality, according to the ITF.

“The provisions are also worst,” one seafarer reported. “They’ll send a supply for one month and will spend it for two months. Vegetables are limited and some fruits and provisions are given only to the officers.”

The action was launched after Australian port state control detained Anna Elisabeth in March.

According to IHS Markit, Lita arrived at anchorage off Fortaleza, Brazil, on 25 June.

Johann M K Blumenthal has been contacted for comment.