Tuvalu News


Misconduct by Tuvaluan Seamen leads to removal

Jan 19, 2006

Alpha Pacific Navigation Ltd has announced that Tuvaluan crews have been removed from three of its ships because of severe alcohol abuse and other serious disciplinary problems.

During 2005 the Company had to dismiss 8 seamen because of alcohol abuse, 2 were dismissed for other disciplinary reasons, 4 deserted in New Zealand, and others were terminated because their performance was below the acceptable standard.

The re-manning of the ships “Batu”, “Calapadria” and “Scotia” will result in 24 Tuvalu families losing their seaman’s income. Some of the seamen currently in those ships will be transferred to other ships for the remainder of their contract, but those already near the end of their contract will be repatriated shortly.

There were two serious incidents recently aboard ships which led to the decision to remove Tuvaluans. In one ship 4 Tuvaluan seamen got into a drunken fight with each other on the wharf while the ship was in drydock in Italy. Somebody called the Police, and when the Police tried to calm the seamen they abused the Police. The men were arrested, jailed, and a few days later they appeared in court. One seaman was fined, the other three were sentenced to 6 months’ imprisonment. Fortunately the sentences were suspended and the seamen were allowed to return to the ship.

There was an even more serious incident aboard one of our ships while at sea in the Atlantic. On Christmas Eve three Tuvaluan seamen were drinking alcohol that one had smuggled aboard at the last port. They continued drinking until the early hours of Christmas Day. One of them then went to the ship’s navigating bridge and attempted to stab the officer of the watch. To save his life the officer had to run away from the bridge. Consequently the ship was without anyone in charge of navigation until other crewmembers were able to arrest and lock up the crazy seaman. So the crazy seamen not only attempted to murder the officer but he also put at risk the lives of everyone else on board the ship.

John Hansford, the manager of Alpha, said: “I am deeply concerned for the future employment prospects of Tuvaluan seamen. Despite the expanding number of ships in the Company’s fleet the number of Tuvaluans employed is shrinking. The problem of alcohol abuse continues despite the best attempts of Tuvalu Overseas Seamen’s Union, Tuvalu Maritime Training Institute and the Seaman’s Misconduct Review Panel.

“The Company still regards Tuvaluan seamen as their most favoured employees. However there are thousands of other nationality seamen waiting to get jobs and the Company has to look at other options if Tuvaluan seamen continue to behave as at present. DRUNKEN SEAMAN ARE NOT REQUIRED!”


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