Workers on board the Sealord fishing vessel Rehua are angry after they say they were forced to defecate in buckets and squid bags after plumbing on the boat broke down.
Source: 1 NEWS
"We are hardworking people, it's not fair we were treated like this," one worker told 1 NEWS.
All the workers 1 NEWS spoke to wanted to remain anonymous, out of fear of repercussions.
One fisherman said a pregnant staff member on board was also forced to use the make-shift facilities.
The ship docked in Nelson on Sunday night after 40 days at sea. The toilet system was broken for the last 10.
Workers were allegedly made to defecate in buckets after the toilet system broke down.
Responding to the claims, Sealord said in a statement that they took all steps possible to fix the mechanical issues on board.
The fishing giant said it made two attempts to get replacement parts delivered to the ship, in bad weather conditions. The boat was then 170 nautical miles offshore (315 kilometres).
"Two attempts were made to fix the problem at sea – spare parts were flown to Bluff to be delivered out to the Rehua on another fishing vessel from Bluff. Unfortunately, that vessel also suffered mechanical issues and was not able to help," it said.
Another fishing vessel was chartered to take replacement parts to the ship, but that was also unsuccessful.
Sealord said there were strict hygiene controls in place while the system was broken and all waste was incinerated.