Non-payment of wages continues to be a major setback for the maritime industry's hardworking seafarers. When a vessel is detained and abandoned by its company, the crew can end up paying the price despite doing nothing wrong.
A seafarer called Arvind contacted ISWAN after his vessel was detained at a port in Russia in March 2020. Arvind had not been paid for over four months. The vessel was detained by Port State Control (PSC) due to a number of deficiencies including the crew’s unpaid wages, and the vessel’s owner had cut off all contact with the crew and abandoned them without pay or essential supplies.
The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) and the P&I club were taking care of the crew’s basic needs by supplying provisions and clean water, but Arvind and his crewmates were worried about their families back home and distressed that they could not contact the shipowner.
ISWAN South Asia suggested that Arvind wrote to the Shipping Master at the Directorate General of Shipping in India to explain his crew’s ordeal. Meanwhile, ISWAN registered the case on the ILO’s database of abandoned seafarers, citing the unpaid wages of the crew, and contacted the relevant authorities including the flag state and P&I club.
The P&I club arranged for four months of the crew’s wages to be paid, and the crew were repatriated in mid-2020. Arvind was still waiting for a further four months’ wages. The ITF arranged lawyers for this case and it was ready for trial by January 2021. With all authorities working together on the case and the pressure mounting on the owners, Arvind was finally paid a further three months’ wages in September 2021, and at the time of writing, the lawyers remain in touch with the company to address the outstanding amount owed.
Throughout the process, ISWAN South Asia kept in touch with Arvind to provide support, encouragement and updates on the progress in his case. Arvind sent the video message below to thank ISWAN for the help he had received, and the crew have since returned to sea to resume their seafaring careers.
If you haven’t been paid according to the terms of your contract, it is important to act quickly. You can contact SeafarerHelp team for guidance or support at any time – all our contact details can be found at seafarerhelp.org.