Balsa-62: Panamanian-flag bulker crew blabs

Dowa's Antilles II

ITF protests at Dowa Line policies were staged simultaneously in Japan and the Caribbean,on February 6, 2010. The unions say they have tried to engage the bulker in a dialogue for the past eighteen months and the company response is a pending Court action against All-Japan Seamen’s Union in Japan. The Japanese corporation Hiong Guan Navegacion Japan Co. Ltd., that operates the commercial cargo ship M/V Balsa-62, was sentenced to three years probation and $1.75 million in penalties, February 24, 2009. The crew members told U.S. Coast Guard, Tampa, that the M/V Balsa-62 had been unlawfully discharging oily waste, with a bypass pipe, which is referred to as a "magic pipe,". In December 2008, the court sentenced Francisco Bagatela to three years probation and a $1,500 fine and Robert Racho to one year probation and a $1,000 fine. Dowa Line is a Japanese company with a fleet of 24 bulk and cargo vessels, most of which fly the Panamanian flag and operate in the Caribbean and to North and South America. Its vessels are managed by Hiong Guan Navegacion Co Ltd, a company registered at the same address as Dowa in Japan. Dowa vessels are crewed by Filipino seafarers. Although Japanese-owned ships registered under flags of convenience often are union organized, Dowa Line does not have ITF contracts on them.

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