Seamen deported for working illegally

TWO Russian seamen who should have been looking after one of Ipswich port's longest staying guests have been sent out of the country – after they were caught working illegally in a Suffolk chicken factory.

By James Fraser

EXCLUSIVE By James Fraser

james.fraser@eveningstar.co.uk

TWO Russian seaman who should have been looking after one of Ipswich port's longest staying guests have been expelled from the country after they were caught working illegally in a Suffolk chicken factory.

The two seafarers landed in hot water after a tip-off led to immigration officials swooping on a poultry factory in Suffolk on Friday.

The pair were the latest in a string of shipkeepers for the Iberian Ocean, a Russian bulk carrier that has been stranded at Ipswich port for 10 months.

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The Bahamian-registered vessel was towed into harbour last November after developing serious engine trouble at sea.

Some repairs have been carried out but a dispute between its owners, a Russian-based shipping firm Rico Maritime, and their insurers has kept the ship languishing dockside in Ipswich.

Its seven-man crew were flown home in July this year with the help of the sailors' charity Mission to Seaman, which is based in Harwich.

John Swift, harbour master for Associated British Ports in Ipswich, said that port authorities would look after the Iberian Ocean until replacements for the two deportees, who had been in the country "for a few weeks at least", were sent over.

"The shipkeepers have been changed quite regularly. We expect some people to be sent soon," he said.

Mr Swift added that the ongoing dispute between the ship owner and the insurance company, while a common problem to dog the shipping trade, had "gone on longer than usual".

"They're usually sorted out before this," he said.

A spokesman for the immigration service said that the two Russians were removed under section ten of the Immigration Act, which covers offences such as breach of conditions of employment and overstaying conditions of entry into the UK.

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