The ITF (International Transport Workers’ Federation) is pleased to announce that the 12 strong crew of the Malaviya 20 – the ship abandoned in Great Yarmouth, UK in June last year – finally began their journey home on Tuesday, complete with all the wages they were owed.
The Malaviya 20 is one of two Indian-owned and -flagged vessels that were effectively abandoned by their owners after they were detained in Aberdeen and Great Yarmouth.
The ITF has assisted both ship’s crews from the beginning – it was routine ITF inspections that first revealed problems with the vessels and that the crews were not paid.
ITF inspector Paul Keenan recounted the background to Tuesday’s victory for the crew: “The ship arrived in Great Yarmouth on June 2016. It was detained by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency primarily because of owed wages. The company initially paid some of the owed money and some of the crew were repatriated. Then nothing. So in December we arrested the vessel on the crew’s behalf. The bank which owned the ship contacted us and sent a representative over to meet with the ITF in January. They agreed to pay all owed wages to the crew currently on the vessel and those who had left earlier.
“The bulk of the wages were paid by bank transfer, and the rest was paid in cash on board the vessel last Friday. In all USD689,679.00 was paid to a total of 33 crew who were owed wages dating back to October 2015.”
He concluded: “Thanks to their determination, the support of the local community and port chaplain, organisations such as the MCA, and the ITF itself, the men have finally achieved justice. In the time when they were abandoned some had taken loans out so that their families could survive. One had taken five loans out at 16 per cent interest which he managed to pay off when he got his wages.
One seafarer, whose son had to live with neighbors because the money lenders kept coming to the house for their money, has now paid off the loans and his son has moved back in. Another crew member, who found it difficult to speak to his son because he was so upset every time as he had to lie to him, telling him he would be home soon, told him last week he would be home this week.
He was overcome with joy. He had also sponsored three children in his village to go to school, and had had to stop this when he didn’t get paid. He has already started to sponsor them again and they are now back at school. It seems life is getting back to normal for them. They all said that what they need now is to spend some time will family and friends before they think about going back to sea.”
Meanwhile the crew of the detained sister ship the Malaviya Seven remain stranded in Aberdeen. The ITF is moving to arrest the vessel on the crew’s behalf in order to secure for them the wages and tickets home to which they too are entitled.