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Last Updated: Thursday, 16 August 2007, 15:02 GMT 16:02 UK
Spanish ship crew in pay dispute
The ship has been detained in Ullapool Harbour
Seven crew of a Spanish ship that had been detained in Ullapool Harbour for safety reasons have called in union officials over a pay dispute.

The International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) maritime union is investigating the complaints made after the ship arrived at the Highland port.

Six Indonesian crew and a Chilean officer on the Enxembre claim to be owed thousands of pounds.

Representatives of the factory ship's owners said the crew would be paid.

The Indonesian crew members said they had only been paid a quarter of the 4,000 they were due, while the officer claimed he had not been paid for four months.

Safety issues

The men called in the ITF amid fears that the master of the ship may set sail with them on board against their will.

That threat has since subsided.

However, the ITF is planning to apply for powers of arrest through the High Court to prevent the vessel leaving Scotland without its Spanish-based owners resolving the dispute and repatriating the crew.

The Enxembre, which was called Atalya until this week, was escorted to Ullapool by a Scottish Fisheries Protection Agency (SFPA) vessel last month because it did not have a proper boarding ladder.

Maritime and Coastguard Agency officers were alerted on 20 July and inspectors detained the ship because of "serious" safety issues, including an expired fishing safety certificate.

The detention notice was lifted on 13 August following a re-inspection.

A spokeswoman for Elcon Leisure, representing the boat's owners, said the Anglo-Spanish company would pay the crewmen in full.

However, she stressed it was normal practice for the bulk of monies due to be paid at the end of a trip.

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