Ship Arrest

June 03, 2012 (LBO) – The fate of an ageing ship owned by Sri Lanka’s state-run Ceylon Shipping Corporation will be decided by a court in Durban, following its arrest by maritime authorities in South Africa, a media report said. The newspaper said ITF officials alleged that there were questions about the safety and seaworthiness of the two-and-a-half-decade old ship.

Sri Lanka’s The Sunday Times newspaper said the vessel has been leased to a company named Tripple S Shipping, at 1,000 US dollars a day and the firm owed 43 million rupees to the state-run firm.

The ship had been arrested on May 17 after 13 crew members of Sri Lankan origin had complained that they had not been paid.

“Payment of the crew’s wages, maintenance of the vessel and all other procedures is the responsibility of the shipping company,” the newspaper quoted Ceylon Shipping Corporation chairman Kanchana Ratwatte as saying.

“What has happened in Durban is disturbing, and the shipping company must take total responsibility.”

The newspaper cited International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) officials in Colombo as saying that the vessel, a gift from Japan, had been commissioned as far back as 1984 and has outlived its useful l