No salary for months, forced to sleep on deck, this is the story of Indian sailors

Ronit Kawale
Ronit Kawale - Senior Editor
3 Min Read

New Delhi: Like the last two years, this time too Indian sailors are facing the threat of release. In fact, not even half a year has passed and 411 Indian sailors have been released from the ships. A total of 116 ships have been abandoned so far this year and 1672 sailors are stranded. This means that the International Transport Workers Union (ITF) expects there to be even more cases of abandonment this year than last year (2023). In 2023, a record 129 ships carrying 1983 sailors, including 401 Indians, were released.

Haven't received salary for several months

ITF has informed about 16 Indian sailors stranded on two ships operated by the same company in UAE. These ships are operated by UAE company AIM Global Shipping and Fuel Supply. These sailors have not received salaries for months, there is no air conditioning on the ships and there is also a shortage of food. The six sailors are aboard the Seashine 7 ship, which is anchored in Sharjah. He has still not been paid outstanding salaries of more than $40,000.

forced to sleep on deck

The ship, named Sanshin 7, has ten Indians on board who owe $35,000. The ship flies a Tanzanian flag and was dismantled in September 2022. The ship has neither air conditioning nor refrigeration, and the generator runs for only one hour a day. Because the cabins are too hot, the crew has to sleep on the deck. The ITF is currently in talks with the ship's owner.

Of the 116 vessels released so far this year, 75% are operating under so-called flag of convenience (FOC). The ship Seashine 7 was registered as a FOC with the flag of Palau, while Tanzania has also been declared a FOC by the ITF. Flag of convenience means that the ship uses the flag of a country that is different from the country that owns the ship. This is done to avoid labor and tax regulations. The latest countries to join the ITF's FOC list are Gabon and Eswatini (formerly Swaziland). Eswatini is a country that is not surrounded by sea and is not a member of the International Maritime Organization. Gabon saw its registry increase by 675% in the two years following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

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