Nautilus ITF inspector raises concerns over traumatised crew after fatality on Dutch-flagged cargo vessel

11 November 2019

A Nautilus International ITF Inspector was called to a Dutch-flagged cargo vessel in the Port of Liverpool in October, after a fatal accident onboard at a previous port in British Guyana.

Tommy Molloy, a NW England ship inspector visited the FWN Rapide on 3 October 2019, following the fatality - that occured in the port of Georgetown on 2 September.

He found out about the matter when he was called by another visitor to the ship in Liverpool, who was concerned that the crew were being interviewed by various authorities and interests without representation or advice.

Mr Molloy said: 'The vessel had arrived in Liverpool from British Guyana where a Filipino crew member had been killed when a 'tween' deck being hoisted fell on him after a wire snapped. Another Filipino crew member was badly injured and hospitalised.'

The dead crew member has been named as Manuel Reynald Jr Bala-Oy of Lingayen Pangasinen, Philippines. The injured seafarer is Bulangis Mark Louise Ontolan of Tacdog-Siquijor. Both the body and the injured man have been repatriated.

When he arrived at the FWN Rapide, Mr Molloy found the last of the remaining three Filipino crew being interviewed by lawyers acting for the vessel's owner, ForestWave of the Netherlands. Dutch Police and flag state officials had already finished their interviews.

Mr Molloy asked why the crew had not been given access to advice and representation. The company representative, lawyers and authorities pleaded ignorance.

'I advised Nautilus colleagues in The Netherlands of the situation as well as AMOSUP, the Filipino crew members union in the Philippines, in order that they were aware of the potential compensation claims to be made on behalf of the deceased crew member's dependents as well as the injured crew member,' Mr Molloy said.

When Mr Molloy met with all three Filipino crew, they asked to be repatriated home from Liverpool. The Ukrainian crew members that Mr Molloy spoke to, declined any assistance.

Mr Molloy advised ForestWave that he believed the three Filipino crew members were traumatised and should be replaced and repatriated to their homes. One of them was related to the deceased.

The company representative onboard said they were already considering this, as well as paying them to the end of their contracts which were due to expire in November.

Mr Molloy suggested the company should provide counselling to the crew members on their return home. The company representative said they were considering this too but said that the crew members had been 'OK until this was all kicked up again by the interviews. It is just the interviews they are fed up with.'

Mr Molloy left contact details with all three crew and asked them to contact him when there were any developments. The vessel was to be delayed in Liverpool for some days whilst investigations continued.

Later, Mr Molloy learnt that the vessel had left Liverpool on 11 October with all three Filipino crew members still onboard and wrote to ForestWave seeking reassurances that the three would be repatriated from the next port.

Jan Burgstra, crew manager at ForestWave, contacted Mr Molloy on 1 November to say that the crew had been 'relieved' and were 'already home'.