The Government of India has blacklisted two companies from United Arab Emirates (UAE) for seafarer abandonment.
The companies in question are shipping and management firm Shah Al Arab Marine Agency and M/s Alco Shipping Services LLC, the Directorate General of Shipping said in a circular on Monday.
The decision was prompted after Indian seafarers were left stranded in Dubai for 22 months on board eight ships. These include oil tankers Enjaz 1 and 2, MT Dharma, M.T. Ocean Prestige, Ocean Grace, general cargo vessel Ajwa, production testing vessel Sharjah Moon, and M.V. Azab.
The directorate said that seafarers were unpaid for months and hadn’t been repatriated after their contract completion. However, despite these issues being public, the companies in question continue to recruit Indian seafarers and several recruitment agencies have been found to have deployed seafarers to these vessels.
“Since the above-listed companies/recruiting agents have been found to be habitual defaulters in terms of payment of seafarers wages and basic provisions, it has been decided to blacklist them,” the circular reads.
As a result, the recruitment and placement agencies who have recruited and placed Indian seafarers on board the above-said vessels were ordered to immediately withdraw Indian seafarers and repatriate them. The government also warned that future recruiting should not be conducted for the said ships and companies.
“The immigration authorities are also requested not to give immigration clearance to the seafarers for boarding above said vessels,” the directorate added.
Alco Shipping is a repeat offender with regard to seafarer abandonment.
As World Maritime News reported in July last year, seafarers, comprising nine Indian, three Pakistani, one Sri Lankan and one Myanmarian national, manning the UAE-flagged products tanker MT IBA, owned by Alco Shipping Services, had their basic human rights breached.
Maritime charity Human Rights at Sea (HRAS) informed that the crew had been stranded on an unsafe vessel, anchored off the coast of UAE, without fresh food or fresh water, unpaid and denied access to medical treatment.
Furthermore, in July 2017, the stranded Indian crew members of MV Sharjah Moon managed to return home after several months of ordeal in UAE. The sailors had been abandoned by the shipowner, who was refusing to cooperate on the matter and had not been paid their salaries for over six months.
The five Indian men were among almost a hundred of Indian seafarers left stranded in the UAE waters, according to India’s Consulate General in Dubai.
Source: World Maritime News Staff