The good ship Ladybug has been tied at the Antwerp quayside for four months now. Her load of second hand cars will probably never reach its destination in Africa.
On 20 June the American shipping company that owns the vessel went bust and the crew has been left to its own devices. Some of the Chinese crewmembers have been on the vessel for 14 months now. One even became a dad, but hasn't had an opportunity to see his new-born daughter in all that time.
The sailors haven't received any wages for two months and this is starting to impact on conditions aboard the Ladybug. Belgium's Christian trade union has stepped in to alleviate the greatest needs and provide food and other essential items.
A new maritime labour convention recently became operational. Under this international treaty the country under whose flag the ship is sailing becomes responsible for the welfare of sailors, but it looks like the treaty has come too late for the good folk aboard the Ladybug.