A joint database on the abandonment of seafarers maintained by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and International Labour Organization (ILO) has received reports of 74 cases of companies abandoning their seafarers on ships around the world..
“This was only during the first half of 2022, so, we can assume that this year we are heading towards surpassing 2021’s record of 95 cases,” as per Dr Heike Deggim, Director, Maritime Safety Division, IMO..
This is a 28% increase compared to 2021 when 95 cases were reported for the whole of 2021, so the situation could be much worse for seafarers in 2022..
An article from Seatrade Maritime News quoted Dr.Deggim as saying “The joint IMO/ILO tripartite working group has been re-established by ILO and IMO to identify and address seafarer issues, and the human element. It will meet over the next two years in several sessions, and they will address in particular guidelines on how to deal with seafarer abandonment cases.”
The working group will also address other issues related to seafarer welfare including the treatment of those suspected of maritime crimes, and bullying and harassment, including sexual assault.
The International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) recently highlighted the growing number of cases of seafarers reporting the non-payment of wages for two months or longer, which meets the ILO’s definition of abandonment.
It said that seafarers did not always realise that not being paid for a couple of months could be a precursor to abandonment. In 2021 the ITF clawed back some $37m in wages that had been withheld from the crew by shipowners.
If these numbers are true, it is an absolutely despicable act by the guilty companies, including shipowners and ship managers and must be condemned in the strongest possible terms.. Seafarers are the backbone of global trade and must be treated as such..!!