HKSOA decries treatment of crew detained in Taiwan
The Hong Kong Shipowners Association said Friday it is 'appalled and extremely disappointed' at the detention in Taiwan of a captain, second officer, and other crew of a Panamanian-flagged oil tanker since April.
The association called it a 'continuing trend of so-called 'developed' economies to treat seafarers with little regard for their basic human rights.'
Taiwanese authorities have held the two men in connection with a capsized fishing boat and the death of two fisherman aboard off the coast of Taiwan. They are investigating whether the vessel, the Tosa, was involved in the incident. The crude carrier was sailing from South Korea to Singapore.
The ship owners association said no such evidence exists and the men should be freed.
'Despite the evidence showing that the VLCC was at least one hour from the position of capsize, and despite no evidence of collision on the hull of the VLCC, the ship was taken from the high seas under Coast Guard escort into Taiwanese port waters and the watchkeepers, the second officer, as well as the ship's master, Capt. Glen Patrick Aroza, were taken ashore into detention,' HKSOA said in a statement. 'After three months, these three seafarers continue to remain in detention in Taiwan, despite no apparent evidence either from the Tosa or from the salvaged trawler, that a collision had taken place. The second mate is in jail and the master is not able to leave Taiwan.'
'Enough is enough,' said HKSOA Managing Director Arthur Bowring. 'Quite apart from the questionable legalities involved in this instance, there are just too many seafarers being treated badly and without respect. Politicians must realize that we have had enough, and are not now prepared to sit quietly when seafarers are not afforded the basic human right of being presumed innocent unless proven guilty.'