Turkish crew stranded in port of Sorel

Phoenix Sun captain Semih Ozkan, left, and crew
Photo courtesy the Gazette

A dozen Turkish sailors who have been stuck in the port of Sorel want to go home, saying they haven't been paid or fed by their employer in months.

The sailors arrived in Quebec in April to get the ship Phoenix Sun ready to move to Europe, where it would be scrapped.

But the ship, registered under a Panamanian flag of convenience, has been stuck in Sorel.

The Burlington, Ontario company that is managing the crew, Menpas Shipping and Trading, initially denied it was at all involved in the situation. It later said it was going to pay the sailors when they returned to Turkey, and claimed the union for intercepting food shipments.

The situation is enraging Seafarer's International Union of Canada president Jim Given, who says the industry protects rogue owners.

"This is basic, vintage flag-of-convenience owner propaganda and how they act," he says. "These guys don't give a crap about their crew members. What they're out for is to maximize their profit."

Menpas did not return CJAD's calls.

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