The distress caused by unpaid wages

January 13, 2020
Ukranian Hryvnia 1

ISWAN’s SeafarerHelp is a free, confidential, multilingual helpline for seafarers and their families, available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. We are often the first port of call when a seafarer or their family needs help, and one of the top issues reported to us is non-payment of wages.

ISWAN’s SeafarerHelp team were contacted by the wife of a Ukrainian seafarer who was one of twenty crew who had not been paid for seven months. She was very distressed and did not want to give her husband’s name, rank or telephone number as she feared his career may be affected. The SeafarerHelp team members listened to her concerns and assured her that she could talk to them in confidence at any time. The team also put her in contact with the Seamen Relief Fund (ASSOL) in the Ukraine so that they could support her as well.

SeafarerHelp works with a wide network of organisations to resolve cases of unpaid wages like this. The SeafarerHelp team referred the case to the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF), whose local inspector visited the ship and advised the crew on the best course of action.

When SeafarerHelp followed up with the seafarer’s wife a few weeks later, she said that the ship had been sold and the seafarers were now home with half of their wages. She said: ‘Thank you very much for support! More such kind people... All the best to you. I do not know how to express my gratitude.’

When seafarers’ relatives find themselves in situations such as this, the SeafarerHelp team is here to find them practical help while providing emotional support. All communication is confidential and no case information is passed on to other organisations without the caller’s permission.

If you haven’t been paid according to the terms of your contract, it is important to act quickly. All the contact details for SeafarerHelp can be found at Save our details for future assistance.

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