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Detained Panama seafarers claim rights abuse

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Detained Panama seafarers claim rights abuse


Posted 12/10/2020

Panama flagged  Star Balboa remains in Trinidad and Tobago, where 17 crew members  are linked to three alleged crimes: " drug trafficking, drug and ammunition trafficking, and trafficking in women."

The boat and its crew, including eight Panamanians and three nationals, have been detained since September 3 and to date nothing has been found, said José Araúz, father of the ship's officer. "The entire ship has been searched  and if there was something illegal they should have already found it," said Araúz, who communicates with the crew daily.

All the relatives of the crew members have come together to ask the Trinidad and Tobago authorities to comment. "Trinidad and Tobago has not said anything since day one," Araúz said.

The director of Seafarers of the Panama Maritime Authority, Juan Maltéz told La Prensa that a visit is planned to find out the status of the seafarers after 43 days in detention.

Family members have sent notes to the Ombudsman's Office and the United Nations Human Rights Office, claiming that the human rights of the ship's crew have been violated. One of the main complaints is that the sailors arrived healthy and were infected with Covid-19 because the Trinidadian authorities did not follow the protocols when boarding the vessel. After the tests carried out by the ship's owner, six seafarers tested positive for the virus, and allegedly have not received health treatment.



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