Astoria ship detained at port of Tilbury over crew welfare concerns

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A CRUISE ship has been detained by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency over “serious concerns” for crew welfare reports the BBC.

The Astoria has been held at Tilbury Docks as a “preventative measure” and a full inspection will be carried out.

Four other ships at the Essex port and one in Bristol from the same company, Global Cruise Lines Ltd, are also being inspected.

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency said it has a “duty of care to investigate a number of serious concerns”.

A spokesman for Cruise and Maritime Voyages (CMV), which operates the ships, said it was “cooperating fully” with the inspections.

“The health, safety and welfare of all their passengers and crew is CMV’s top priority,” he said.

The All India Seafarers Union wrote to the government of India on Tuesday requesting help for “164 crew members stranded” on board.

Due to coronavirus restrictions, Indian citizens had been “stuck in foreign waters” for 90 days, the union said.

The letter said some crew members had gone on hunger strike and “staged a peaceful protest” in a bid to be “returned home to their families”.

A CMV spokesman said the company had “faced an unprecedented emerging humanitarian issue” as crew members “became stranded on cruise ships” due to coronavirus travel restrictions.

The company’s chief executive Christian Verhounig said it had been in “high level talks” with the Indian government to “help facilitate” the safe return of crew members.

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