Ship crew join CNMI lawsuit

3:38 pm on 16 November 2016

The captain and crew of a controversial cargo ship in the Northern Marianas, the MV Luta, say they are owed thousands of dollars in unpaid wages.

They have asked the US District Court to allow them to intervene in a lawsuit which has been filed against the vessel's owners, said to be the family of the territory's Lieutenant Governor Victor Hocog.

The plaintiffs, led by captain Michael Brochon, are suing MV Luta and its owner Luta Mermaid LLC, alleging they have violated the Fair Labor Standards Act.

The crew said they are owed more than $US183,000 in unpaid wages and they've alleged breach of contract and failure to pay the minimum wage.

A Japanese investor Takahisa Yamamoto earlier filed a lawsuit for breach of contract, fraud, and unjust enrichment.

He has alleged Mr Hocog, with five others and two companies, refused to pay back the $US3.4 million that he put up for the ship.