Shipping disputes that expose vulnerable seafarers to tedious legal cases that leave them stranded at sea without pay are not exclusive to the UAE, reports The National UAE.
What is the situation?
Charities and human rights groups say as many as 500 vessels can be anchored offshore from the UAE at any time, waiting to load cargo, unload, or switch crews.
Of those, only a small percentage ever become embroiled in any kind of legal dispute, usually over unpaid contracts. But it can leave scores of sailors exposed.
The stranded crew
Reports in the UK claim 15 Indian crew working on oil fields in the North Sea have been abandoned for seven months in poor living conditions on a supply vessel near Great Yarmouth, on the east coast of England.
In June, a 16-man crew of Indian and Pakistani sailors were trapped on board the 330-metre MT Zoya 1 awaiting clearance to come ashore off the Sharjah coast, a similar case to that of the crew on the MV Azraqmoiah container ship.
Hired workers and their plight
It is the latest example of how shipping companies, paying lower wages, hire workers to fulfil the mandatory legal requirements for crew.
The UK P&I Club, a leading shipping insurer, reported suicides at sea increased from 4.4 per cent in 2014 to 15.3 per cent in 2017.
Database of seafarers and fishermen
The Missing Seafarers & Fishers Reporting Programme is a register to build an accurate international database of the numbers and status of seafarers and fishermen missing or lost at sea, anywhere in the world.
It can be accessed via the Human Rights at Sea group’s webpage.
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