UK: Intl. Transport Workers’ Federation supports seafarers in 3 cases of abandonment by Turkish Voda Shipping, claim conditions "close to modern day slavery"

The ITF (International Transport Workers’ Federation) has 'successfully supported the crew in three ship abandonment cases in UK waters that show a culture close to modern day slavery in some parts of the shipping industry'. The ITF alleges that Turkish company Voda Shipping was involved in each three cases as well as possible modern slavery for the crew onboard. We invited the company to respond, it did not. 

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Company non-response
5 September 2017

Voda Shipping did not respond re allegations of modern slavery cases of ship abandonment in UK waters

4 September 2017

Commentary: Does seafarer abandonment constitute modern day slavery?

Author: Tanya Blake, Fairplay

Should we call seafarer abandonment modern-day slave labour?

...The maritime trade union [Nautilus International] has lodged protests with the Turkish owners of the...cargo ship Seccadi and the Panama registry over "terrible conditions" on board the vessel. The ship was detained in the UK port of Runcorn on 22 June and the nine crew on board were found to have no fresh fruit or meat and were owed almost USD43,000 in back pay...Nautilus International/International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF) ship inspector Tommy Molloy said the organisation hoped that by referring to such incidents as slave labour, the shipowners and flag states involved could be brought to justice so the crews are paid what they are owed and repatriated quicker. According to Nautilus, some of Seccadi's seafarers had to take out loans or pay money to get a job on the ship, including paying for their own flights from their homes to and from Turkey so the company could then fly them to the ship. The Turkish and Indian crew were also found to have wages below International Labour Organisation minimums, ranging between USD250 and USD700 per month for able seamen (ABs)...Voda Shipping also recently had another two abandoned ships in the United Kingdom, Tashin in Sharpness, near Bristol, and Reggae in Port of Leith, Scotland. "They are exactly the same stories and the same situations," [Molloy] said. Thankfully the crew of Seccadi have since been paid their back-wages and repatriated...Since the start of March 2014 there have been 159 cases of seafarer abandonment according to the International Labour Organisation...

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4 September 2017

Modern slavery in UK waters "cannot be tolerated"

Author: Int'l Transport Workers Federation Global

The ITF (International Transport Workers’ Federation) has successfully supported the crew in three ship abandonment cases in UK waters that show a culture close to modern day slavery in some parts of the shipping industry, 20 July 2017

...ITF seafarers’ section chair Dave Heindel [commented], “The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) and UK Border Force deserve recognition for their efforts to enforce regulation intended to maintain decent standards for all seafarers – action by the flag state has yet to be seen. It’s also disappointing to see the reluctance of the P&I club to step up and pay out under the requirements that came into force in January this year under the amended Maritime Labour Convention, 2006.  We are closely monitoring the operation of these provisions ahead of our reporting on them to the ILO (International Labour Organization) and IMO (International Maritime Organization).  What these cases reveal is a tendency to take the word of the owners at face value and ignore both the evidence onboard and the fact that this insurance was specifically designed to allow direct access to seafarers and their representatives. This cannot be tolerated.”  The three cases all involve one owner, Voda Shipping of Istanbul, Turkey. They are the Reggae in Port of Leith, Scotland; Tahsin in Sharpness, England; and Seccadi in Ellesmere Port, England...

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