The International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF) Seafarers has launched an online ship abandonment resource which provides details of all current and recently resolved abandonment cases that ITF affiliates, inspectors and secretariat have been dealing with.
All listed cases have been submitted to the International Labour Organization's (ILO) Abandonment of Seafarers database.
The Maritime Labour Convention, 2006 (MLC) defines abandonment as when 'a shipowner fails to cover the cost of the seafarer’s repatriation; or has left the seafarer without the necessary maintenance and support; or has otherwise unilaterally severed their ties with the seafarer including failure to pay contractual wages for a period of at least two months'.
When this happens ITF Seafarer Support and its team of inspectors, which includes Nautilus/ITF inspectors, will try to repatriate the crew and recover any outstanding wages from shipowners.
The database shows the scale of the work the ITF is facing, particularly with ships registered in the Flag States of Panama, Bahrain, Palau, Malta and the Cook Islands. In the Asia Pacific region, it is dealing with four cases relating to the Panama Flag.
In the Arab states it is currently dealing with 32 open cases in Qatar under the Flag of Palau; 25 in Egypt under the Flag of Panama; 18 cases in Bahrain and another 16 in Egypt also relating to the Flag of Bahrain, and another 14 in Egypt under the Flag of Malta.
There are also 22 other cases in Egypt under the Flag of the Cook Islands, 18 cases in the Sudan under the Flag of Lebanon, and 26 cases in the UAE under the Flag of Tanzania. Salaries owed to crew in this region ranged from $195,000 to $600,000.