Ajman - The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) has called the plight of abandoned seafarers in the UAE “a scourge that has to stop” after 11 Indian and Myanmar crew members were finally repatriated home after 17 months in Ajman, UAE. The ITF worked with the UAE Federal Transport Authority (FTA) to resolve a dispute between the crewmembers and the ship operator.
The vessel “Agean Princess” was abandoned in the UAE after the ship owners and operators faced financial difficulties, leading them to abandon the crew without pay or the necessary documents to return home: “The ITF is pleased to announce that the 11 crew of the Panamanian flagged “Agean Princess” have finally been able to return home to India and Myanmar, after a dispute between their ships operator and owner saw them held in Ajman, United Arab Emirates, for 17 months,” the group said in a statement. “However, the crew are still owed hundreds of thousands of dollars of unpaid wages,” it added. According to ITF inspector, Mohamed Arrachedi, the crew are owned wages dating as far back as 2015, totalling more than US $916,000. The crew were abandoned in the UAE in June, 2016: “This has been a difficult case, and in the end we were helped to conclude it by UAE Federal Transport Authority (FTA),” he said. “The ITF and the FTA have been working closely to end abandonment in UAE waters, and these seafarers have seen the benefit of this. As the UAE moves towards fully complying with the Maritime Labour Convention all seafarers will enjoy the greater protection they deserve when working there,” he added. “In this case we also had the cooperation of the flag state of the vessel - Panama - that helped to resolve the issue,” he said. “But this is not the end of this sad story, the seafarers are owed wages going back to 2015, totalling over USD 916,000. There is never an excuse for seafarers to be abandoned like this, it is a scourge that has to stop, and it has to stop now,” he said.
(Source: ASC, Credit: Baltic Shipping Services)