Secret slave contracts

In 2014 and 2015, Latvian, Lithuanian and Russian vessels rushed to Båtsfjord. The goal was to make billions of the snow crab - the new gold in the Barents Sea. But the Russian seamen ended up calling Båtsfjord «pirate port».

Secret slave contracts
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By: Siri Gedde-Dahl, Gunnar Thorenfeldt, Leif Stang, Ola Strømman and Hans Arne Vedlog (photo), translation: Boris Kochetkov

BÅTSFJORD / ODESSA / OSLO (Dagbladet): 18-hour workday and six hours of rest. For just a little over 4000 Norwegian kroner and a carton of cigarettes a month. Such are the brutal conditions in employment contracts of Indonesian seamen on a number of snow crab boats in Båtsfjord. Dagbladet has access to the contracts.

‪- It was painful to see what it was like for the Indonesians. Some of the people I spoke to had worked aboard the boat for over two years, says a Ukrainian sailor Dagbladet met in Odessa. He worked on one of the Båtsfjord-based boats owned by the Latvian company Baltjura-serviss.

He does not dare to have his name and photo published, but he has shown us his own employment contract, a seaman's visa and cell phone photos of the crab vessel.

Irina Kravchenko, the widow of Dmitry Kravchenko, who disappeared at sea from the Baltjura-serviss boat «Kalmar» on September 4, says:

- My husband told me that the Indonesian seamen were treated as slaves. They had to wear old clothes until they almost fell off. They did not get enough food and they starved. Even though they had to work more than the rest of the crew, they earned a lot less than the others. And often they did not even get the agreed wages.

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