ITF: 16 Abandoned Seafarers Return Home after Months on Powerless Ship

16 crew members of the Bahrain-flagged containership Avonmoor have received their wages and returned home to Ukraine after being abandoned for four months in Morocco, International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) said.

The seafarers were abandoned in the Port of Casablanca by the vessel’s owner Tylos Shipping and Marine services in January 2018. The mariners were bereaved of their wages, basic provisions, fuel and first aid supplies.

What is more, the 1998-built vessel was in blackout, whilst anchored in the mouth of the port, which caused significant security concerns for the crew, the ITF, which has been helping to resolve the issue, added.

Tylos Shipping and Marine services is a repeat offender when it comes to crew abandonment.

According to the ITF, previous issues had been identified on this same vessel as well as others, with unpaid wages and failure to repatriate crew.

“The ITF is currently dealing with three cases of abandonment with these owners, including the Sanad, the Aman and the Jerna S. This is also the second instance of crew abandonment on this vessel, with the first only being resolved last September after the ship was abandoned in Malta,” the union pointed out.

The abandoned crew has been repatriated home to Ukraine thanks to the coordinated efforts of ITF Inspectors, Moroccan Workers’ Union (UMT), an ITF affiliate, protection and indemnity insurance (P&I), port authorities and the Ukrainian Embassy.

Mohamed Arrachedi, ITF Arab World Contact Network Coordinator and Paul Falzon ITF Inspector for Malta have been assisting the crew members, initially working with local union UMT to deliver humanitarian aid and medical assistance.

The crew has received their wages totaling USD 107,000 from P&I, with USD 20,000 being paid by the owner as part of December salaries during the negotiations.

 “Justice has finally been served, the 16 Ukrainian crew have at last been paid and repatriated home. We would like to take this opportunity to actively denounce the irresponsible behavior of abandoning seafarers. The ITF, working collaboratively with the maritime industry and governments, will work towards eliminating this notorious practice, and to secure dignity and respect for seafarers all over the world,”Arrachedi commented.

“This latest episode of the Avonmoor highlights the dark side of the maritime sector being manifested by rogue owners such as Tylos Shipping. Above all, it demonstrates in practice the indispensable role the ITF plays in maritime labor relations, greatly benefiting the lives of seafarers,” Falzon added.