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

New Delhi: Like the last two years, the threat of being released is hanging over Indian sailors. In fact, not even half a year has passed and 411 Indian sailors have been released on ships. So far this year, a total of 116 ships have been abandoned 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 were released, including 401 Indians.

Salary not received for many 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 been paid salaries for months, there is no air conditioning on the ships and there is also a shortage of food. The six sailors are on board the Seashine 7 ship, which is anchored in Sharjah. He is yet to be paid back wages of more than $40,000.

forced to sleep on deck

Ten Indians are on a ship named Sanshin 7, who are owed $35,000. The ship is Tanzanian flagged and was scrapped in September 2022. There is neither air conditioning nor refrigeration on board, and the generator only runs for an hour a day. Because it is too hot in the cabins, the crew has to sleep on deck. The ITF is currently in talks with the ship’s owner.

Of the 116 ships released so far this year, 75% are operating under so-called Flags of Convenience (FOC). The ship Seashine 7 was registered as FOC with the flag of Palau, while Tanzania has also been declared as FOC by the ITF. A 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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