In this, the second decade of the 21st century, I am still often astonished, saddened and angered by the treatment of some seafarers by certain shipowners/operators.
A recent example of this is the case of the Bahrain flagged Avonmoor.
In January 2018, the 16 Ukrainian crew members of the Avonmoor, were abandoned in the Port of Casablanca, Morocco, leaving them without wages, provisions, fuel and first aid supplies. The vessel was in blackout, whilst anchored in the mouth of the port, which caused significant security concerns for the crew.
The vessel is owned by Tylos Shipping and Marine services, with whom the ITF have identified previous issues 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, having been abandoned in Malta.
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.
Once it was established that Tylos were failing to deliver on their promises to the crew, the ITF called on the P&I Club to establish a plan of action. Thanks to
the coordinated efforts from P&I, port authorities, the Ukrainian Embassy, ITF and UMT the situation was resolved. Wages totalling $107,000USD were paid by P&I ($20,000USD were paid by the owner as part of December salaries during the negotiations) and the crew repatriated home. Mr Arrachedi thanks all involved for their efforts: “I would like to extend my thanks to UMT for their assistance, the Ukrainian Embassy and the Moroccan port authority for their support to bring this to a satisfactory end.”