Bengazi traders will be compensated, Etel’s crew will get wages, if they unite
Ro-roEtel, seized by Bengazi businessmen in Bengazi, Libya, to get back the shipment of cars stolen by the owner of Etel in March, is not released yet. Writes Libyan Herald:
A Greek ship carrying the 597 cars arrived in Benghazi Port on Aug 28 and the vehicles were unloaded on Aug 29, five months later than expected. The cars, purchased from Jordan in March by a group of Benghazi businessmen, should have been delivered straight to Libya. However, for reasons that remain unclear, the vessel, MV Faina, instead took them to the Ukraine, where the ship’s operator Tomex Team was based.
The businessmen had said that once the cars were returned, Etel would be released. However, because it is still subject to a court order, the vessel has not yet been able to set sail.
“We don’t have permission to release the ship because we have to wait for a new court order,” Benghazi Port Manager Mustafa Al-Abar told the Libya Herald. He added that the 19 crew, however, were free to leave as soon as they wanted.
Although Al-Abar said he thought the Etel would be released as soon as legal procedures had been finalised by the court, the Benghazi businessmen seem to be divided as to the fate of the cargo ship.
One, Abd Al-Rauf Al-Tajoury, said that the Etel could be released this weekend. Another, however, insisted the vessel would be held until Tomex Team handed over compensation for losses incurred over the last five months.
The crew of the vessel rejected to leave the vessel and return to Ukraine, even though they’ve been offered a free flight by Ukrainian authorities. The crew is demanding to be paid outstanding wages for the last 4 or 5 months.
Solution to the problem facing businessmen and crew is evident – they should unite their efforts in attempts to recover their losses and unpaid wages. Businessmen can’t confiscate the vessel, they’d be rejected by any court, they already broke the law by seizing vessel in the end of July. The crew can’t do much, either, because they’ll need some startup money to sue the owner, get an arrest and auction warrant from the court and until then, live on somehow.
If united, they’ll solve their problems – businessmen will legalize the seizure, the crew will get enough means to stay on the vessel and wait until vessel is sold and wages debts compensated.