Aetea Sierra to be auctioned 17 Feb. to pay sailors’ salariesJan 8th, 2010 | By staff | Category: Labor & Welfare, News
The Greek-owned, troubled Aetea Sierra will be auctioned 17 February 2010 in order to pay the wages of Filipino sailors ordered by the Pireaus court in its order of 21 December 2009 unless the ship owner, Aetea Sierra Maritime Company, Ltd, can raise the money to settle its debts to the seamen. The 12 Filipino sailors altogether will be paid a minimum of US$189,000 to a maxium of US$466,600, according to their lawyers.
In its order of 21 December, the Court of First Instance of Piraeus directed the immediate payment of 132,963.32 euros (about $190,000) to the 12 seamen, representing their unpaid salaries up to 9 November 2009. In addition, another 195,000 euros were to paid to them later, to represent estimated salaries starting 10 November 2009 up to the day the seamen leave the ship as well as compensation for the physical discomfort and mental distress the ship-owners have caused the seamen in the episode.
The lowest award, including the later payments, amounted to 22,256 euros, in the case of one officer, while the highest award totalled 41,711 euros.
To the benefit of the seamean, the court based its award on prevailing Greek standards and not on the contracts signed by the seamen. The court’s award consequently represented six times the salaries of the sailors according to their contracts.
The seamen’s lawyers, Attys. Thanasis Alykatoras of the ITF and Christos Moschos of Pavlakis-Moschos Law Offices, explained that the court also ordered that the additional amount of 195,000 euros (or $277,000) be secured to be collected for the seamen at a later stage of the case.
The Filipino crewmembers are now waiting for the arrival of their replacements so that they could return to the Philippines and rejoin their families. Meanwhile, their wages will accrue, based on the favorable Greek standards, until they are fully paid, that is, while they stay in Greece. Eleven of them have already completed their contracts.
The Aetea Sierra was impounded in the Piraeus Port in September near Athens when a case was filed against its owners by the ship charterers for its alleged failure to unload the cargo at the agreed port (not in Greece).
Tthe ship crew were being regularly supplied with the normal provisions. The Philippine Overseas Labor Office had been closely monitoring the provision of food and other necessities for the crew. The Philippine Embassy also sent Filipino food and beverages to the crew.
The Philppine Embassy’s Consul General Constancio Vingno and the POLO were in regular cellphone communication throughout the entire episode with Jose Cardenas, the highest ranking Filipino officer, and with other crewmen to determine what the crew needed. Labor attaché Eduvala had early talked to the entire crew to explain to them their options. □