Foreign seafarers are being left stranded in British ports after their shipping companies flounder on the brink of bankruptcy.
HM Courts and Tribunals Service said there were 42 warrants of arrest executed in the UK in 2011, up from 34 in 2010. The ships have been arrested by the Admiralty Marshall, a branch of the Ministry of Justice, due to unpaid fuel bills, mortgages and other maritime lien.
Angry, confused and disillusioned crew members of various nationalities including Russian, Ukrainian and Belarusian, have been living in their vessels for months on end without being paid wages and without an idea of when they can return home, reports The Argus.
As well as being unable to feed themselves, the crewmen cannot send funds to their families in their native countries, meaning rent bills go unpaid and their children can no longer go to school.
The legal cases are brought against the arrested property itself and not the crew and these arrested vessels are prevented from moving or trading whilst a resolution of the outstanding claim is thrashed out.
Charitable and Church institutions are doing their best to help the seafarers at this time.
Source: The Argus