Agreement likely in talks to resolve mutiny on ship


Negotiations to resolve a mutiny on a Russian cargo ship which has been berthed in Waterford harbour since June 22nd were believed last night to be near agreement.

SIPTU's industrial official for the south-east region, Mr Tony Ayton, who is representing the nine members of the 16-strong crew of the Firyuza on behalf of the International Transport Federation, said "good progress" had been made in discussions with a senior executive from the vessel's owners, Olmar Shipping.

The executive arrived in Shannon from Moscow yesterday afternoon. He was accompanied by six sailors who are to replace the nine sailors at the company's expense.

The vessel was detained under Port State control by the Department of the Marine last Friday after an official from the Marine Survey Office deemed it unseaworthy. "There's a significant number of faults," a spokesman for the Department said.

It was understood the company was planning to repair the vessel once agreement was reached.

A mediator from the Russian Embassy was overseeing the negotiations, which were continuing last night.

The situation on board was "very tense", said Mr Ayton. The company had tried to evict the nine strikers after it reached agreement last week to pay seven of the crew $500 each in final settlement of their dispute. "The company managed to divide the crew on that basis," he said.

Last night the company agreed to pay about $13,000 to the striking sailors which had been outstanding since April, Mr Ayton said.