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Shipping minister says family of Albanian seaman Alfred Ismaili who died on board cargo ship the SMN Explorer in King’s Lynn should be compensated “without delay”

PUBLISHED: 12:11 19 April 2018 | UPDATED: 14:22 19 April 2018

The SMN Explorer cargo ship at the Alexandra Dock in King's Lynn. Picture: Ian Burt

The SMN Explorer cargo ship at the Alexandra Dock in King's Lynn. Picture: Ian Burt

Archant 2018

The family of a crew member killed in an accident on a cargo ship should be paid compensation “without delay”, the shipping minister has said.

Mr Ismaili at home in Albania with his three children. Picture courtesy of the Ismaili family.Mr Ismaili at home in Albania with his three children. Picture courtesy of the Ismaili family.

Albanian seaman Alfred Ismaili died on board the Liberian-registered SMN Explorer, in King’s Lynn docks, on February 1.

The Marine Accident Investigation branch is investigating and an inquest has been opened into his death.

Mr Ismaili’s family has threatened legal action to seek compensation for his wife and three young children.

North West Norfolk MP Sir Henry Bellingham wrote to shipping minister Nus Ghani, requesting details of the ship’s owner and its insurer.

The SMN Explorer cargo ship at the Alexandra Dock in King's Lynn. Picture: Ian BurtThe SMN Explorer cargo ship at the Alexandra Dock in King's Lynn. Picture: Ian Burt

Ms Ghani has now replied, stating the vessel’s registered owner is Explorer Ships SA, care of Sky Mare Navigation, in Athens.

She says compensation arrangements are covered by the Maritime Labour Convention, which states ship owners should have “financial security” to cover compensation for occupational illness, injury or death.

The amount payable must be set out in a seafarer’s contract of employment.

“The convention requires that compensation should be paid without delay,” Ms Ghani adds. “Contractual compensation is paid without prejudice.”

A police forensic van arrives at Lynn docks. Picture: Chris BishopA police forensic van arrives at Lynn docks. Picture: Chris Bishop

Sir Henry said: “I think the key point is there is no reason at all in why there should be any delay in the compensation payable to Alfred Ismaili’s family.”
Mr Ismaili joined the Explorer as a $1,510 a month crew member in Rotterdam in November. His contract was due to end tomorrow.

It stated his next of kin should receive $102,308 and each dependant child $20,462 in the event of his death, meaning the family would receive more than $160,000.

But the ship’s operator Sky Mare Navigation, which is based in Athens, says it can not be paid out until the authorities complete their investigation into his death.

A spokesman said last month: “We are still waiting for the conclusion of the investigation in order to exclude any other scenarios.”

The MAIB’s conclusions are not expected to be published until the end of this year, leaving his family waiting for answers regarding what happened on board the ship.

Firefighters and an ambulance were called to vessel, in Alexandra Dock, at around 11am. Mr Ismaili was pronounced dead at the scene.

At his inquest opening the coroner heard he died from a blunt force trauma injury.

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