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Abandoned tanker safe at port

Abandoned tanker safe at port
Genivi Factao May 20, 2020

Members of the PCG Auxiliary who brought provisions to the crew. They are shown with officers of MV Celanova. PHOTO FROM PCG
After five months of running dangerously low on fuel, having a faulty rudder and getting battered by Typhoon Ambo, the tanker MV Celanova was finally towed safely and docked in a port in Manila. Its 15-man crew was also given assistance.

The International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) has requested Philippine maritime authorities to allow the ship into port to facilitate urgent assistance to the 15 Cuban crew aboard the Celanova, who have been left without pay for months and forced to beg for vital provisions.

“Without a rudder, food, water, electricity, lights, WiFi, refrigeration, GPS, security or safety lights, 15 seafarers sit at anchor in Manila Bay abandoned,” ITF said.

The 7,600-gross ton Celanova is a Spanish-flagged liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) tanker owned by Globalgas SA based in Madrid. The ship was held by the port state because of abandonment.

With the vessel’s faulty rudder, the recent typhoon, lack of supplies and the dangers of getting infected with the coronavirus disease 2019, the ITF sought urgent assistance from government authorities.

Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) Administrator Roberto Empedrad has informed Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) Commandant Admiral Joel Garcia that he has given the “go signal for the ship to proceed to designated berthing space” as approved by the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA).

“PCG is constantly monitoring the safety and security of LPG tanker Celanova and has been continuously coordinating with the International Transport Workers Federation,” Garcia said.

“The ITF assures to provide a facility to accommodate the crew of said vessel while waiting for repatriation process and resolution on unsettled remunerations,” he added.

Former Marina administrator Vicente Suazo earlier pointed out the danger of leaving the ship adrift while having a faulty rudder and leaving the foreign crew unattended.

Accordingly, he sent a message to PCG Auxiliary head, Capt. Jeremias Simon, who eventually managed to send a group headed by captain Inocencio Rosario to the distressed ship aboard BRP Tubbataha to bring them fresh provisions.

The tugboat of Harbor Star Shipping Services Inc. towed the Celanova to a safer area near the Manila Bay Breakwater and is now docked beside the TS Kapitan Felix Oca, a training ship owned by the Associated Marine Officers and Seamen’s Union of the Philippines, the local affiliate of ITF in the Philippines.

“The fight continues to recover their owed wages and get them repatriated home safely,” ITF-Manila Representative Rod Aguinaldo told The Manila Times.

Based on news reports, the tanker broke down and lost its rudder off the Philippine coast on Dec. 7, 2019 and 10 days later, was towed to anchor in Manila Bay.

Marina detained the vessel last February 14 after authorities found it to be in breach of the International Labor Organization Maritime Labor Convention over unpaid wages as reported by ITF.