€70,000 from auctioned ship to go to unpaid crew


“WE ARE delighted,” was the response of the International Transport Federation (ITF) yesterday after a ship on which a crew from Ukraine was stranded last year was successfully auctioned.

The €70,000 paid for the MV Linda by the Free Gaza Campaign will be used to pay the outstanding wage bill for the crew, which amounts to $52,500 (€39,000).

The crew were abandoned when the ship docked in Dundalk last July, and were left dependent on ITF and Siptu goodwill.

Its former owners had not paid the crew for work last year, but yesterday’s auction means all their arrears will be paid, and “that was our fundamental reason this process started”, said Ken Fleming, inspector with the ITF, who is also a Siptu official.

The vessel was seized and auctioned by order of the High Court following an application by him, and after the auction yesterday he welcomed the fact the ship will have a future in assisting in providing aid to others. “We welcome the fact that the MV Linda will be put to a better, more humanitarian, use than the exploitation of seafarers,” Mr Fleming said.

Bidding for the 1,800 tonne vessel began in Dundalk at about €40,000 and reached €65,000 before the Free Gaza Campaign secured it with a bid of €70,000.

It will be sailed to Cork where it will be fitted out and loaded with humanitarian aid including medical supplies and building materials. It will join a flotilla of six ships due to set sail from Cyprus for Gaza in the first week of May.