Twelve crew members of the Indian-owned and -flagged Malaviya 20 offshore support vessel, which has been detained in the UK for months, have finally been paid. The crew of the sister vessel Malaviya 7, however, has yet to be paid.
According to a statement by the ITF, which has helped the Indian crew, the Malaviya 20 workers have finally headed home with all their back pay.
The seafarers had been effectively abandoned by the ship’s owners GOL Offshore since last June, as had the crew members of a sister ship, Malaviya Seven, in Aberdeen, Scotland.
The ITF discovered the seafarers’ plight during routine inspections of the ships, which were then detained by the authorities for non-payment of crew and other deficiencies.
Although the owners initially paid some back wages and some of the crew of the Malaviya 20 were repatriated, it then failed to pay anything further, and the ITF had the ship arrested on the crew’s behalf. Following the ITF’s intervention, the bank that now owns Malaviya 20 agreed to pay all the wages owed to the current and previous crew, ITF said.
ITF inspector Paul Keenan reported that: “In all, USD689,679 was paid to a total of 33 crew who were owed wages dating back to October 2015.”
He explained that their abandonment in the UK had caused hardship for their families and communities; he paid tribute to the crew members and the support of the local community, port chaplain and authorities in achieving the success.
The ITF has said is now moving to arrest the Malaviya Seven on behalf of the crew who remain stranded in Aberdeen, so that they too can secure their back wages and tickets home.
To remind, the maritime workers’ union RMT has previously blasted the owners of the Malaviya vessels for ‘slave-like’ conditions aboard the vessel. RMT then said that there have been reports that these “low-cost” seafarers earn rates of pay as low as £2 per hour – some 70% below the value of the National Living Wage of £7.20 per hour. That is, in case they get paid at all.