Alexander Onufriyenko, the Russian captain of the Russian-owned, Vietnam-based fishing boat Phu Hai 1, said in a meeting with the authority yesterday that he has not been on any hunger strike as reported by foreign sources, Hoang Nhuan Quynh, chief of the Coast Guard in Vung Tau told Tuoi Tre.
A photo taken on November 3 of the Phu Hai 1 fishing boat at Vung Tau city’s Ha Loc port Photo: Tuoi Tre
He has not sent any letter to Russian authorities asking for help either, the captain confirmed, adding that he has not received his salaries for months.
The captain has been reported to be on an indefinite hunger strike in Vung Tau since his crew has not received their payments for many months, though eyewitnesses deny this, saying he eats and drinks normally.
The report said the Russian company Antel Invesment Ltd. owes the crew over US$143,000.
Phu Hai 1 along with Phu Hai 7 catches tuna for the Russian company’s factory at the Suoi Dau industrial park in Khanh Hoa Province.
Tuoi Tre has confirmed that Antel indeed owes the crew several months of salaries, with other reports claiming some have not been paid for as long as two years.
The company was asked in February to pay more than $50,000 to the 20 crew members of Phu Hai 1 and Phu Hai 7, following a diplomatic note from the Russian consulate in Ho Chi Minh City last December to the Department of Foreign Affairs of both Ho Chi Minh City and Ba Ria–Vung Tau Province, asking for assistance for the Russian crew members on the two fishing boats.