Friday, January 30, 2009
By Marcus Hand
As adapted from Lloyd's List
Friday 30 January 2009
THE sorry tale of seafarers onboard the Orient Steamship capesize bulker Silver Constellation being left unpaid and running out of food exposes an ugly underside of the global shipping industry.
The 25 Filipino crew onboard the vessel in Falmouth have not been paid for three months and are set to run out food in a matter of days, and its master is receiving no response from the company’s headquarters.
While it is understandable that companies get into financial difficulties, leaving crew to starve halfway around the world is unconscionable.
With the dire warnings of many bankruptcies to come in shipping as a result of the financial crisis, it raises the likelihood of the sorry scene being played out onboard the Silver Constellation being repeated across the globe.
Fallout from the Asian crisis a decade ago saw crew from companies such as failed Singaporean company Thong Soon Lines being stranded for a year or more unpaid and thousands of miles from home.
In these situations seafarers are left with little, if any recourse and left quite literally to the mercy, or lack thereof in the more unfortunate cases, of the shipowner.
However bad times become it should be ensured that seafarers are at least fed, paid the wages they are due and repatriated. Leaving crew to starve off foreign shores is simply inhumane and should not be allowed to happen in even the most extreme of circumstances