The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that a wage claim by a foreign seafarer against his employer for service on a foreign vessel is subject to arbitration. In the instant case, plaintiff Philippine seafarer brought suit against defendant cruise line alleging violation of the Seamen’s Wage Act. Defendant cruise line’s motion to compel arbitration in the Philippines was granted by the federal district court and plaintiff appealed. The order compelling arbitration was upheld by the appellate court, which ruled that federal law favors arbitration and that the collective bargaining agreement between with seamen’s labor union and the cruise line comported with the requirements of the UN Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards and federal law. Balen v. Holland America Line, No. 07-36011 (9th Cir., October 2, 2009).
(Source: Bryant’s Maritime News)