Fight Over Food Supplies On Detained Casino Ship
The master of the detained casino ship New Imperial Star was arrested Thursday, along with two crew members, following an alleged fight over a can of coffee.
The captain, Ukrainian national Valeriy Lyzhyn, is charged with assault, as are a Chinese crewmember from the galley and a stewardess.
Police said that Lyzhyn and the galley crewmember suffered injuries to the head.
The coffee was part of a rare food shipment from the ship's owner, Arising International Holdings.
The 46 members of the Star's crew have been stuck on the vessel, at anchor off the Kai Tak Cruise Terminal in Hong Kong, since the ship failed safety inspections last October. They do not want to leave, as they are concerned that if they do, they will not receive their back pay.
The SCMP reports that tensions are running high on the ship. Crew's wages have not been paid in six months, and food supplies are irregular.
Captain Lyzhyn may be suspended for the arrest, the vessel's operator said, without specifying what his suspension would mean aboard an idle vessel with no pay.
The crew are suing Arising International Holdings in an attempt to recover wages totalling to hundreds of thousands of dollars. They are hoping to have the Star arrested and sold to pay Arising’s debts.
Reverend Stephen Miller of The Mission to Seafarers in Hong Kong recently told Quartz that the Star is not the only Hong Kong casino ship running into financial trouble, citing a recent crackdown by the government on the vessels, which are allegedly associated with flows of money out of mainland China. Quartz found that only four out of the ten vessels in the trade are still operating.
Separately, one nm away at a retail facility in the Kai Tak Cruise Terminal, dozens of staff contend that they are owed unpaid wages dating back to February, the South China Morning Post reports. Ten employees reportedly staged a walkout in protest in early April.
A spokesman for the terminal’s operator emphasized in an emailed statement that “one of the shops at the cruise terminal has a labor dispute with its staff.”
Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly identified the employer in the wage dispute at a business within the Kai Tak Cruise Terminal as the operator of the terminal facility itself, Worldwide Cruise Terminals (WCT).
WCT and its majority owner Worldwide Flight Services have no connection whatsoever with the labor disputes discussed above, nor with the New Imperial Star.