New case of seafarer abuse exposed on UAE flagged vessel


Immediate 13 July 2017

Human Rights at Sea today publishes a further detailed case study and investigatory report into the abuse of seafarers provided by first-hand crew testimony onboard a UAE flagged vessel moored offshore the UAE coast owned by Alco Shipping Services.

Notable concerns raised are crew allegations of ship owner threats towards them for publicly exposing their plight, and their continued deprivation of liberty onboard having had their passports confiscated.

New case: MT IBA IMO 9438200 UAE Flagged Oil Products Tanker

Crew comprise: Nine Indian, three Pakistani, one Sri Lankan and one Myanmarian crew.


  • The crew of the MT IBA are currently stranded on an unsafe vessel, anchored off the coast of UAE. The MT IBA is an oil products tanker owned by Alco Shipping Services LLC.
  • The crew of the MT IBA 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 MT IBA.
  • In addition, for the last six months the crew have been denied access to medical treatment, further aggravating their suffering onboard.


Safety onboard the MT IBA

  • The crew of the MT IBA complain that their safety has been compromised by the provision of unfit Personal Protective Equipment. The fire extinguishers onboard 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 non-payment of wages (see below).

Food and water

  • The crew have repeatedly been left without fresh food or fresh water, most recently from the 4th to the 8th of 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 signoff requests. The crew are anxious to be repatriated as soon as possible.
  • In addition, the crew have been without pay for the past 6 months. All of their correspondence with the company on these points has been 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.

CEO, David Hammond, stated: “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.”

MT IBA crew medical conditions go untreated



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