ITF: Abandoned Qaaswa Crew Returns Home after 11 Months

The remaining crew members of the abandoned tanker Qaaswa were finally repatriated in late April after spending almost a year off Tunisia.

According to the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF), the seafarers and their vessel were abandoned in May 2017 by Alco Shipping Services in the SFAX anchorage off Tunisia.

There were a total of 18 crew members aboard the UAE-flagged tanker Qaaswa, including two Indian, three Bangladeshi, and 13 Egyptian crew members, as well as the master.

Initially only eight seafarers, including seven Egyptians and one Bangladeshi, were paid and disembarked the ship on March 9, 2018 as a first part of the settlement.

However, the owner again failed to fulfill the agreed plan, and the second part was never implemented by owners, Mohamed Arrachedi, ITF Arab World Network Coordinator, informed.

Hence the ITF approached the P&I club for the vessel and asked to pay wages and repatriate the crew in line with the abandonment clause on the P&I certificate. The seafarers, who were owed wages for 5 months,  disembarked the ship on April 27.

“These seafarers suffered greatly because the owner simply did not accept their responsibility.  This is the third time we have assisted and repatriated crew from this vessel, when will we see an end to ship owners acting in this way?,” Arrachedi said.

“This case put the light again on the recruitment and placement services, and on the impunity that some shipowners operate,” he concluded.

In all more than USD 100,000 in wages was paid to the crew, according to the ITF.