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Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Seafarer Abandonment Is on the Rise

Maritime Activity Reports, Inc.

January 25, 2024

© VeNN / Adobe Stock

© VeNN / Adobe Stock

Seafarer abandonment is on the rise, according to latest figures from the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF).

In 2023, a total of 132 vessel abandonments were reported, which is 13 more than in 2022 – an increase of 10.92%. IFT said it made 129 of those reports.

Under the Maritime Lamour Convention 2006 (MLC), a seafarer is deemed to have been abandoned if the shipowner fails to cover the cost of repatriation; or has left them without the necessary maintenance and support; or has otherwise unilaterally severed ties with them, including their failure to pay the seafarers’ contractual wages for a period of at least two months.

Steve Trowsdale, ITF Inspectorate Coordinator said, "The ongoing rise in the number of seafarer abandonments is unacceptable. It is a consequence of an industry where the seafarer can be a throw-away commodity. Seafarers and their families pay the ultimate price for the greed and non-compliance of ship owners, enduring the inhuman consequences of a system that compromises their well-being, dignity and basic human rights. ITF inspectors do an incredible job in holding to account those shipowners that try to get away with treating seafarers like some sort of modern-day slaves”.

ITF said it was contacted by 1,676 seafarers from abandoned vessels in 2023, noting that Indian seafarers were the most abandoned, with more than 400 cases.

ITF have received more than $10.9 million in owed wages from 60 of the 129 vessels it reported so far. The final figure will exceed $12.1 million as cases take time to resolve and as other seafarers come forward, thereby increasing the amount of recoverable wages.

The highest numbers of abandonments by flag state were:

(Source: ITF)

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