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Bulk carrier crew still in Turkish prison, in shabby “drug trafficking” case

Bulk carrier crew still in Turkish prison, in shabby “drug trafficking” case
Mikhail Voytenko November 25, 2023

MB received a letter from brother of one of the crew of bulk carrier PHOENICIAN M, arrested in Turkey on Oct 5 after “cocaine bust”, and a text message from the wife of another crew member. Relatives of the crew of Capesize bulk carrier BERGE TORRE, arrested on Nov 14, also contacted MB, with the same complaints. At least in PHOENICIAN M case, ITF refused to assist, to my knowledge. Maybe BERGE TORRE crew members than their colleagues from PHOENICIAN M, it is not known yet.

Anyone who can do anything to assist seamen, either organization or individuals?

Dear Sir,
I am Filipino seafarer. My brother is the Third Officer of PHOENICIAN M. He is, unfortunately, one of the seafarers arrested in Turkey. I would like to express my sincere intent to update the information regarding them.
Last October 5, 2023, when they got arrested by the Turkish authorities. To clarify, there were ten seafarers arrested that day, 6 Filipinos and 4 mixed nationalities. The arrest was challenged at first as their legal counsel couldn’t find clear grounds on the arrest and that no evidence pointed out that the crew were part of the transport of drugs. Also, the authorities have been selective on the arrest as only half of the crew was brought to their custody and the vessel was also permitted to sail again even if there was a pending investigation.
Turkey assured the families of the welfare of the seafarers, and they are given the privilege to call their respective families. However, info from the detained seafarers, especially my brother says otherwise. They are only given one insufficient meal a day. It is almost two months of their detention and up until now, the prosecution of the Turkish government can’t (won’t) release a final verdict regarding their case.
They have been charged with drug usage and drug trafficking. They have been tested for drug usage and the results already came back negative hence the case has been cleared.
However, the prosecution can not deliver finality to the case of drug trafficking. They seem to be intentionally holding the legal process of the case to lengthen the detention of the seafarers. This has happened many times before that the Turkish government puts innocent seafarers under their custody and uses them as an accessory to their anti-drug campaign.
The families of the seafarers are worried about the situation of the seafarers and the slow process of the case. The seafarers now have low morale and that some of them are having suicidal thoughts already.
We already contacted our Department of Foreign Affairs. They can only repatriate the seafarers once the charges have been cleared. And the time in which the case shall be finished is still indefinite.