An offshore supply vessel owned by an Indian company has been detained this week by port authority in Aberdeen.
The port authority detained the MV Malaviya Seven offshore supply vessel on Wednesday morning, in what the shipping union RMT says is a “blatant example of modern day slavery.”
According to the union, the decision to detain the vessel has been taken as a means to securing pay and benefits for the fifteen Indian nationals who are working on the vessel. None of the crew members have been paid for almost 2-months while several have not received a penny from their employer for several months, RMT claims. The vessel is owned by GOL Offshore, India’s offshore oilfield services provider.
Additionally, through the ITF and their affiliates, RMT has asked the UK Border Control authorities to investigate concerns that these ship owners and charters/brokers are effectively applying a form of modern day slavery across the oil and gas sector.
Another vessel to be detained?
RMT says that a second vessel, the “MV Malaviya Twenty” faces a similar fate in the port of Great Yarmouth where Port State Control has been alerted to a similar situation on that vessel.
The Aberdeen detained vessel “MV Malaviya Seven” has been on recent charter in the UK offshore sector with BP, Wood Group, Dana and Premier Oil. This is, therefore, a vessel working in and out of UK Ports and servicing the UK sector.
Despite this, and even if the exploited workers were paid today, they would still only be earning around $2 US dollars per hour, less than a fifth of the UK National Minimum Wage provisions, RMT said.
RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said: “The seizure of this vessel exposes the scandal of modern day slavery on our ships right at the heart of the UK’s oil capital, Aberdeen.
“It also exposes the shameful practices in the exploitation of our natural resources, practices that must be outlawed and regulated against immediately. These ships of shame are a blatant abuse of migrant workers and are contrary to any number of stated industry and government objectives around Human Rights and Maximising Economic Recovery from our resources. Additionally, it is a catalyst for the dumping of UK seafarers, many thousands of whom are now drawing benefit from the state.
“In the week where the former Chief of BP, Trevor Garlick, is awarded an OBE for his services to the industry we have to ask if those “services” included the introduction of slave labor practices to our country.”