UAE: Remaining seafarers aboard abandoned MV Tamim Aldar waiting on unpaid wages for over two years

Remaining seafarers have been stranded aboard the abandoned ship the MV Tamim Aldar for over two years as they wait for salaries to be paid. The sailors are stuck 24 miles off the coat of Ras Al Khaimah, UAE and allege wages pending since March 2016. The ship belongs to Elite Way Marine Services, a company who allegedly owns a number of ships abandoned in the region. In June 2019 those remaining onboard left the ship on the sole remaining lifeboat before being returned by the UAE coastguard; a day after the four sailors were towed back to a UAE port and it is hoped their case is drawing to a close. 

The issue of abandoned ships off the UAE coast is a longstanding one, with those on board left without food, water, medicines and fuels, dependent on humanitarian relief. Alhough unpaid workers are entitled to wages paid from the sale of vessels, Elite Way have said they are reluctant to sell ships, citing unfavourable market conditions. In the meantime abandoned sailors are left facing a choice between disembarking and losing the right to owed wages, and staying aboard in terrible living conditions.

NGO Human Rights at Sea blames poor management by maritime companies as the root cause. Human Rights at Sea first became aware of the MV Tamim Aldar case in late 2018 and has since consistently advocated for justice for the workers.

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Article
21 August 2019

Seafarer abuse continues with low settlement offers for outstanding wages

Author: Human Rights at Sea

Seafarer and Indian national 34-year-old Vikas Mishra from Jaunpur who had previously suffered 35 months and 13 days onboard the UAE flagged MV Tamim Aldar owned by Eliteway Marine Services Ltd without pay and seeing his family... 

Since 8th August, Vikas and his fellow crew members have been ashore in the UAE... he has only received five months salary. To date, he is still owed over 30 months salary amounting to in-excess of USD 71,000...

The remaining seafarers including Vikas are now being offered only 66% of their owed wages while other crew who have signed off have been reportedly paid up to 80% of wages owed by Eliteway Marine.

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Article
11 July 2019

Seafarers trapped on ship for 33 months say jail threats forced them to reboard

Author: The Guardian

Seafarers who abandoned their [UAE-based Elite Way Marine Services owned] ship after being stranded at sea for almost three years say they were forced back to their boat after they were warned they faced jail. The four men... said they were told by coastguards that they faced two years in prison for leaving the vessel, the MV Tamim Aldar, and were advised to return... The Federal Transport Authority (FTA) of the UAE said no laws existed to imprison abandoned seafarers and confirmed they would not face arrest... [The men] warned the authorities they were leaving the ship... “In complete blackout, the vessel was not safe for our lives,”... the men described the harsh conditions on board, saying they had been forced to sleep outside in searing heat, at the mercy of mosquitoes and cockroaches. The men urged the UAE to “solve our issue and send us home safely”... In April, Elite Way Marine Services said they had encountered financial problems. They could not be contacted for this article.

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Item
1 July 2019

Abandoned seafarer podcast testimony to conditions endured on MV Tamim Aldar

Author: Vikas Mishra, Human Rights At Sea

The remaining crew onboard the UAE flagged MV Tamim Aldar, the remaining four seafarers (two Indian, two Eritrean) are currently under tow back to the UAE coast and port facilities... Vikas Mishra, who has been abandoned for 33 months and not seen his family or his daughter since she was nine months old, gave the following recorded testimony to Human Rights at Sea... Whether or not the remaining crew receive all wages owed under employment contracts from the owners, Eliteway Marines Services Ltd, is still yet to be determined.

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Article
1 July 2019

Update to abandoned Indian Seafarers of MV Tamim Aldar off UAE Coast (Human Rights at Sea)

The remaining abandoned Indian crew on the UAE flagged MV Tamim Aldar after they were returned yesterday to their deteriorating vessel by the UAE Coastguard following their own abandonment of the vessel... it took days for the crew to make the lifeboat serviceable for the dangerous 25 nautical mile journey to shore... The crew stated that they did not know what else to do, so they made a collective decision and were forced to leave for reasons of serious concern for their personal safety... once ashore and having had their case lodged as a criminal complaint... there was the suggested possibility of them going to jail... the crew have now had to accept their return back out to sea.

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Article
28 May 2019

Indian Seafarers Offered Fifty Percent of Wages Owed

Author: The Maritime Executive

Some Indian seafarers, who remain abandoned at sea in the UAE, have allegedly been offered only 50 percent of the wages they are due. The U.K.-based charity Human Rights at Sea says that most of the seafarers on two arrested vessels were in such a desperate situation that they accepted the offer without further negotiation... Human Rights at Sea has issued a statement saying the ongoing issue of abandoned Indian seafarers off the UAE, some for over 28 months, must now be brought to a swift end. The charity has consistently stated that such poor management behavior by maritime companies and owners towards their employees is entirely unacceptable in today’s society in a multi-billion dollar industry.

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Article
28 May 2019

Stranded Indian sailors off UAE coast send out SOS as food rations run out

Author: Mazhar Farooqui, Gulf News

Indian sailors stranded on a decaying merchant ship abandoned off the UAE coast have sent out an SOS as their food supplies have run out. For the past 31 months, engineers Vikas Mishra, 34, and Arsu Lobo, 49, have [stayed aboard] MV Tamim Aldar in the fervent hope of getting their salaries, which are allegedly pending since March 2016... the seamen are on the brink of starvation as their supplies have exhausted...

The cargo vessel on which the men are stranded since September 2017, flies a UAE flag and is owned by Dubai-based Elite Way Marine Services which has been caught up in financial disputes involving its other vessels... “We are hoping to come up with a solution soon,” [said Abdul Mahalik, an accountant at the company]. The sailors fear they will lose their bargaining power if they leave the ship. "... Four crew members who left the ship last month got just half of their outstanding salaries" [said] Mishra who claims the company owes him $65,000 (Dh238,745) towards 26 months of unpaid salaries.

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