Abandoned Seafarers Incident in the UK

A usual case of the abandonment and her crew is highlighted within this post. The story took place in the UK during February 2013, less than a year before the official entry into force of the Maritime Labour Convention. Foreign seafarers were left stranded at Sussex after their shipping companies flounder on the brink of bankruptcy. Angry, confused and disillusioned crew members of various nationalities including Russian, Ukrainian and Belarusian, were living in their vessels for months on end without being paid wages and without an idea of when they can return home.

2013.07.17 - Abandoned Seafarers Incident in the UK

Being left totally abandoned and without any money support the seafarers were unable to obtain food to feed themselves. Furthermore, the crewmen could not send funds to their families in their native countries, meaning rent bills go unpaid and their children can no longer go to school.

As if this was not enough, the ships were arrested by the Admiralty Marshall, a branch of the Ministry of Justice, due to unpaid fuel bills, mortgages and other maritime lien.

The legal cases may be brought namely against the arrested property itself and not the crew but this means that the arrested vessels are prevented from moving or trading whilst a resolution of the outstanding claim is thrashed out.

So in that case the crew was left waiting in an arrested vessel while the company was giving weekly promised to coma to a resolution and repatriate the seafarers to their homes.

As said earlier such cases occur from time to time regardless of the place/country. For example this specific case which took place in hte UK is not the only one since according to UK Courts and Tri bunals Service there were 42 warrants of arrest executed in the UK in 2011, up from 34 in 2010.

The captain of an abandoned ship, reported that his crew had only received one part-payment of wages since October 2012. Since this incident was reported in February 2013 this means that the crew of this particular ship has been left unpaid for over 4 months. It also worth mentioning that the ship  owners of the mentioned vessel  had debts in excess of £1million.

In another case of abandonment, an arrested ship at Shoreham Port, was the home to crew members whose contract of employment has expired, though they refuse to go home until they have been paid.

Sources: Apostleship of the Sea, The Argus

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