UAE cracks down on ship owners who abandon seafarers
The Federal Transport Authority (FTA) for Land and Maritime has started cracking down on ship owners abandoning and ill-treating seafarers.
The authority has banned all ships belonging to a shipping company, which did not protect seafarers’ rights, from operating in the UAE waters.
The ban on ships belonging to Venous Ship Management and Operation LLC based in Fujairah was announced in a circular [No (9) 2018] issued to ports authorities, harbour masters, ship agents and seafarers.
“Ships belonging to Venous Ship Management and Operation LLC, or belonging to the owners of the said company, are banned from operating in UAE ports and waters, or anchoring in UAE waters,” said the circular signed by Hessa Bint Ahmad Al Malek, executive director, Marine Transport, FTA.
The authority also warned all seafarers and ship agents against dealing with this company or other companies owned by the same owners.
Tweeting a copy of the circular, the Indian Consulate in Dubai thanked the FTA. “Happy that action has been taken against M/s Venous Ship Management on whose ship (Athens 99) several Indian sailors faced grave hardship,” the mission posted.
Speaking to Gulf News, Consul-General of India in Dubai Vipul said: “It is a very welcome step. It will act as a deterrent to other companies ill-treating sailors.”
He said the consulate had coordinated with the FTA to repatriate some of the distressed Indian crew members of Athens 99. “Their salaries are still pending.”
Incidentally, the same company had been blacklisted by the consulate when it issued an advisory in July 2017 against unscrupulous shipping companies and agents following the huge number of complaints received from Indian seafarers in distress in the UAE waters.
In a first, the mission had named and shamed repeated offenders so that sailors do not fall into trouble with them again.
The consulate had also advised the sailors to apply due diligence before accepting an employment offer to work on ships and not to get recruited through unscrupulous agents.
Vipul hoped that similar action will be taken against all the companies that have repeatedly violated rules and abandoned seafarers by not providing them salaries and essential supplies.
To curb such practices, the FTA had last month made insurance coverage for sailors mandatory so that they will be compensated in case of delayed payments and abandonment by ship owners as well as for death and injuries during work.