FOC State Applies MLC to Help Crew Get Backpay
The "Seafarers' Bill of Rights" has been applied by a flag of convenience state that has not yet ratified the convention – Belize – to ensure that crew members are paid back wages due.
ITF inspectors in Russia and Ukraine approached the Belize authorities with concerns that Russian and Ukrainian crew members on ships owned by the Turkish company Kent Shipping and flagged in Belize had not received their wages. The back pay amounted to around USD90,000 for 20 seafarers on board 12 Kent vessels. In some cases, the seafarers had been signed off the vessels with wages still outstanding.
The Belize authorities responded with action to aid the biggest group, five crew members on the vessel Palladiy, while it was en route to Azov in Ukraine. Belize ordered the vessel to be stopped (with a prohibition from sailing notice) "until all outstanding wages are totally paid" – the wages due to the five men amounted to USD29,029. The prohibition was only to be lifted after the ITF confirmed evidence of payment.
According to the ITF, Belize also said it would take similar action against the other vessels in the fleet unless they too paid up.