Hsin Chien Marine settles salary dispute with seafarers

Aerial view of Kaohsiung port, Taiwan. Credit: TIPC

Taiwan’s Maritime and Port Bureau, a unit of the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC), has intervened in a salary dispute between local dry bulk shipping company Hsin Chien Marine and 24 Myanmarese seafarers.

The seafarers alleged that they were forced off a Hsin Chien ship in Kaohsiung port, Taiwan, after complaining that they were owed six months of salaries.

The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) was alerted and asked the MOTC to act. As of 5 October 2020, Hsin Chien has settled the outstanding payments.

The director of the Maritime and Port Bureau, Yeh Hsieh-lung, said that Hsin Chien made the payments in two instalments and remittance slips were produced as evidence on 5 October.

Regarding the allegation that the seafarers were forced off the ship, the bureau’s deputy director, Liu Chi-hong, said that the seafarers had completed their employment contract and had to return to Myanmar.

The ITF issued a statement stating that several Myanmarese crew members had alleged that Hsin Chien made deductions from their salaries without offering explanations.

Nineteen of the seafarers will be repatriated on 11 October, while arrangements have been made to send the remaining seafarers back to Myanmar on 25 October.

Hsin Chien Marine’s representative stated that the company has remitted part of the salaries to the seafarers’ Myanmar agent, which will pay the monies to the seafarers’ family members, while the remaining portion of the salaries has been paid to some of the crew on board.