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14 Sailors Strike in South Korea Over Salaries

Russian crew members on board the JB Rubin cargo vessel insist that the ship's Japanese owners are yet to pay them more than $20,000.

The Russian crew of a Cambodian-flagged cargo ship has gone on strike at a South Korean port over salary arrears.

Fourteen Russian crewmembers of the JB Rubin ship refused to unload its cargo of scrap metal on Monday evening, saying that their employer hasn't paid their salaries for several months, RIA-Novosti reported Tuesday. The ship is docked at the South Korean port of Busan.

"The ship owner has paid the crew their salaries for May — $20,000, and $2,000 for meals — but the debt for June remains at $16,000," a spokesman of the Russian Seafarers' Union, Nikolai Sukhanov, was quoted as saying.

The owner of the ship, Japan-based TKB Shipping Co. Ltd, couldn't be immediately reached for comment. According to the company's website, the ship, which was built in 1979, was scheduled to depart for Vladivostok on Tuesday, but the sailors refused to start working before being paid in full.

This is not the first time in recent weeks that the crew has complained over salary arrears. Earlier in July, the crew appealed to prosecutors at Magadan, where they were docked at the time, to seize the vessel over a debt of $41,132. A local court rejected the petition.

A representative of the International Transport Workers' Federation was to meet the crew on Tuesday to help arrange negotiations.

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