Tuesday, October 03, 2006
Three Chinese sailors are stranded in Mombasa after refusing to board their fishing vessel alleging frequent beatings by the captain. They claim their lives are in danger and have reported the matter to the police in Mombasa who are carrying out investigations. One of the sailors, who was injured during the alleged beating, was issued with a P3 form at Port police station. He was later treated at Coast Provincial General Hospital and discharged. He complained of severe pains in the head although the X-Ray did not show any fractures on the skull. His colleagues also claimed to have been regularly assaulted. The three men, aged between 28 and 35 years, have been living on handouts from fellow Chinese residents in Mombasa since they left their vessel which is currently berthed at the Old Port."We are not going back to that vessel because we will be killed by the captain now that we have made the matter public," they said through an interpreter. They have worked on the vessel for three years during which time they say they have endured a lot of hardships. "All we are asking for is our dues so that we can return home and continue with life," they said. Two senior Chinese embassy officials travelled from Nairobi to Mombasa to resolve the matter at the weekend. The diplomats also held talks with the ship's agents. One of the victims told the Nation that their Taiwanese captain had assaulted him with a plastic pipe seriously injuring him on the head. Although the alleged assault took place on August 15 in the high seas, the sailors have been pushing for the captain to be charged in Kenya citing the case of suspected Somali pirates who were arrested in the high seas but are currently being tried in Kenya. Police sources said efforts to arrest the captain had failed because he had returned to Taiwan. "We have informed Interpol to arrest him and charge him in Taiwan since he has stopped coming to Mombasa," a police source said on condition of anonymity. The sailors have been trying to get the ship’s agents in Mombasa to buy them tickets to fly home. But when the agent was reached for a comment, a person who gave his name only as Mr Everest, was non-committal about how they would help the three sailors. "There is nothing we can do about their alleged beatings since it took place in the high seas – that is a matter for Interpol and they will have to sort out the issue back home," he said.