Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement slams ‘Lady Chiara’ claims

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Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement has condemned claims by the International Transport Workers Federation that the 12 Filipino seafarers onboard the Liberian registered 27,350 dwt chemical oil tanker Lady Chiara had no fresh food and only contaminated water to drink and has commissioned an independent surveyor to inspect the vessel to back up its defence.

It has also lodged a complaint with the ITF over the matter and involved IMEC, the employers association, for what it claims are breaches of procedure between the two organisations.

Holger Pittelkau, Managing Director of Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement (Cyprus), told SMI: “I can honestly say there is not much to the whole thing, it is just an ITF inspector wanting to make a name for himself.

“The vessel came from India with a cargo for Ireland and she was going to be stocked with stores when she came through to Ireland. In Suez she picked up fresh provisions which easily brought her over to Ireland and there is plenty of evidence that the stores were full of fresh provisions. Not as the ITF inspector suggested that they were trying to shift stores from one fridge to another. That is utter nonsense.”

Mr Pittelkau said the independent surveyor would undertake an assessment of the situation and provide Bernhard Schulte with an independent survey report. Admitting he has not personally spoken to the master of the vessel about the incident, he claimed a superintendent joined the ship at Gibraltar “and there was not a single complaint voiced to him during the voyage to Cork.”

A statement from the Services, Industrial, Professional and Technical Union (SIPTU) in Ireland said it would ask members in the port to keep an eye out for similar situations of seafarers in distress. “This is the second time in three weeks that we have found seafarers in difficulties in the port. Fortunately the port authorities are responding positively to our concerns,” it said.