Ships of Horror: Pacific fishermen raped, beaten, and fed fish bait…

Posted: 08/15/2011 in all marine news

Rob Almeida –

On August 18, 2010, the South Korean fishing vessel, Oyang 70, capsized and sank while working in the New Zealand´s exclusive economic zone (EEZ), resulting in the loss of six lives.  Information provided by the survivors revealed a number of labor and human rights violations aboard the vessel, and suggested this type of abuse was not just limited to the Oyang 70.

Now, an investigation by the University of Auckland has revealed Indonesian fisherman working on Korean-owned vessels in New Zealand waters have found themselves subject to unbelievably savage work conditions and treatment at the hands of their Korean officers.

“Officers are vicious bastards … factory manager just rapped this 12kg stainless steel pan over his head, splits the top of his head, blood pissing out everywhere…,” one informant told the University of Auckland.

Written by Management and International Business staff Dr Christina Stringer and Glenn Simmons, the report documents substandard conditions, verbal and physical abuse, sexual harassment, intimidation and threats, and absence of responsibility suffered by crew onboard particularly Korean fishing vessels.

Their research alleges:

  • Crew often beaten for little or no reason
  • Inhumane punishment such as being made to stand on deck for hours without food or water in extreme weather conditions
  • Sexual harassment, including rape
  • Fatigue causing accidents and injuries, and lack of protective or safety gear
  • Intimidation and threats involving crew and their families
  • Substandard conditions including little or no heating, drinking water a brownish rusty colour, food supplies rationed, crew fed fish bait
  • Denied medical treatment and accidents covered up or not reported
  • Muslim workers called dogs, monkeys and other names.

“In the old days, slaves were not paid and chained, now we are paid and trapped…but we are worse than slaves,” one of the 143 crew or observers interviewed in New Zealand and Indonesia told the researchers.

Full story…

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