New Case of tanker seafarer abuse

Jul 14 2017

Human Rights at Sea (HRS) has published another detailed case study and investigatory report into the alleged abuse of seafarers on board a UAE flagged tanker.

The tanker was moored offshore UAE and is owned by Alco Shipping Services, thought to be the same company named by HRS in an earlier abuse case concerning the products tanker ‘Ocean Pride’ - see last week’s news.

Notable concerns raised were crew allegations of shipowner threats towards them for publicly exposing their plight, and their continued deprivation of liberty on board having had their passports confiscated, the organisation said.

The vessel in the centre of the latest allegations is the 2008-built, 7,000 dwt products tanker ‘Iba’, which has a crew of nine Indian, three Pakistani, one Sri Lankan and one Myanmarian seafarer.

HRS claimed that the crew are currently stranded on an unsafe vessel, anchored off the coast of UAE. The crew have had their basic human rights breached, with a deprivation of liberty, lack of protection for their health and bodily integrity, lack of protection for their right to life and lack of family life, due to their enforced retention on the ‘Iba’, HRS said.

In addition, for the last six months the crew have been denied access to medical treatment, further aggravating their suffering on board.

Among the complaints received were - 

•         The crews safety has been compromised by the provision of unfit personal protective equipment. The fire extinguishers on board are empty and the life boat’s hydraulic system is leaking and unable to be tested.

•         The crew have raised these issues with Alco Shipping, who allegedly responded that fire extinguishers were unnecessary while the vessel was transporting inflammable cargo, despite the vessel continuing to transport crude oil.

Denied access to medical treatment -

•         Several crew members have been suffering from undiagnosed skin conditions since February, 2017.

•         Despite raising this issue with Alco Shipping, the crew have been denied access to medical treatment. Instead, Alco shipping have required a payment of $250 to ferry each afflicted crew member to shore, a far larger sum than the crew can afford. This requirement has been exacerbated by Alco Shipping’s alleged non-payment of wages.

Food and water -

•         The crew have repeatedly been left without fresh food or fresh water, most recently from the 4th - 8th July.

•         While Alco Shipping eventually delivered fresh water, food had to be provided by the Indian Consulate in Dubai.

Non-payment of wages and deprivation of liberty on board -

•         The crew’s passports were removed on their sign-on date, and have not been returned despite repeated sign off requests. The crew are anxious to be repatriated as soon as possible.

•         In addition, the crew have been without pay for the past six months. All of their correspondence with the company on these points was allegedly ignored.

Threats made against the crew -

•         The crew allege that after raising the safety concerns with Alco Shipping, they have been repeatedly threatened with criminal proceedings should they report their concerns to a local authority.

•         They further allege threats of false criminal accusations, as well as threats against the careers of the crew members in an apparent attempt to prevent the concerns of the crew coming to light.


HRS CEO, David Hammond, said: "Human Rights at Sea will continue to publicly document and publish cases of the abuse of seafarers wherever this occurs in the world so that the international community have the facts. We aim that by ensuring such poor conditions are objectively highlighted, our evidenced-based approach will trigger formal public condemnation and resultant action by the IMO, ILO and the flag state administration at the very least. Silence and inaction are no longer an option from established shipping bodies." 

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