Seafarers stranded for months on MT Iba vessels are now free to go after their wages were settled. 5 crew members of the ship abandoned in Umm Al Quwain beach have settled for $165,000 as their wages. The shipping is being sold now. The seafarers were stranded on the abandoned ship for 43 months.
One of the seafarers, 31 year old second engineer of the vessel Vinay Kumar who has been stuck on the ship hasn’t received any payment since 2017.
The other 4 crew members, chief engineer Nay Win, second engineer Riasect Ali and ordinary seaman Nirmal Singh Bora have been deprived of their salaries similarly. All of them have agreed to the $165,000 payout.
The ship was abandoned by the owner Alco Shipping Services in 2018. The firm apparently faced some financial issues because of which they couldn’t pay the salaries.
50% Wages Already Paid
The firm has already paid 50% of the payout as cheques to Mission to Seafarers charity while the rest will be paid after the legal procedures of selling the ship is done.
The vessel is presently towed to the beach for repairs while the crew is being taken to Dubai Maritime City. They will have to wait there for 15days as the ship is sold and all other legal procedures are being completed.
Alco Shipping’s representative, Waqar Ijaz Hasan said that he was relieved that the issue was resolved. Hasan formalized the deal of selling the ship to Shark Power Marine Services.
“This is good news for all of us. We never stopped working to resolve the situation and the crew will now go to the next available port.
From there they will go home to their families,” Hasan confirmed.
Shipping Firm Paying for the Repatriation
The shipping company is also paying for the repatriation of the seafarers. A tugboat towed the 5000 tonne vessel from the beach. This is funded by the new ship owner who will be restoring the vessel to working condition soon. This will take 2 or more days depending on the ship’s conditions.
The seafarers travel documents will be processed at the Dubai Maritime City while they undergo mandatory PCR tests for covid.
A Satisfactory Outcome for Seafarers
According to Andy Bowerman, the regional chief of the Mission to Seafarers, this is a satisfactory outcome for seafarers as 70% of wages is quite good considering the company’s and the ship’s conditions.
“The crew came across on a small boat to the beach to meet with the owner and the new company to sign the agreement on Monday. It was quite emotional for them all. There is still a risk for the crew who must stay on board until the vessel is fully repaired”, said Bowerman
“The crew were elated that this was finally happening, but they are very close now it is hard for them to believe this is finally happening. I don’t think they will quite believe it until they have the money in their hand”, Bowerman added.