15 September 2021
“We’re still living here in the vessel like a jail…we can not go outside, we can not make anything, we live only in the shipping and the berth and now also winter is coming…and we are afraid too much from the treatment [of us]”
London. UK. / Constanza, Romania. The stranded Panamanian flagged MV ALI BEY (IMO 9070515) crew who have been abandoned and detained alongside Constanza port in Romania since 30 November 2020 without wage payment and suffering challenging conditions onboard have provided Human Rights at Sea with updated video testimony as to their position which amounts to a bleak outlook.
Initially reported by HRAS 18 July 2021 with the first video testimony issued, the remaining four man Syrian crew continue to remain in unnecessary limbo without full settlement of their wages owed, and which are reported to amount to USD $186,000.
In an interview today with HRAS, Captain Abdullah Dahha, the Master of the vessel again laid out their challenges in securing all the wages they are owed, their poor living conditions onboard and highlighted the local voluntary support which is keeping them supplied with food, water, and electricity.
Supported by the local ITF Inspector and an instructed local lawyer, backed by the ITF Seafarer team in London, the crew continue to wait for a legal solution to their case with real concerns as to their well-being as the months pass and winter conditions approach.
Captain Dahha explained to HRAS:
“Our lives are lived between the berths…we are now just sitting between the berth and the ship.
“We want 100% of our wages, that is $186,000 [USD] but they are offering us $110,000…and this offer was by a strange man who came to the ship and I refuse.
“ITF bring supplies and food for us… but we need to finish this case.”
Registered on the ILO Abandonment Database as case no. 00490 by the Panama Maritime Authority on 2 December 2020, the last updates were posted on 16 July 2021 by the ITF and the Government of Panama.
ITF (16 July 2021)
From ITF Inspector in Romania
I can confirm that owner done a lot of abuses against the crew in order to negotiate their rights less than they owed, (master video attached), P&I confirmed this abandonment according with MLC 2006 and paid compensation according with the convention, part of crew got some part of their wages and after many abuses (missing food, missing fuel, sometime rooms not heated during winter time, bad living conditions on board the vessel in generally, threatened to be blacklisted, with court and with police , with force evacuation, etc etc. Now, on board there are 4 seafarers unpaid from many months, owner owes them about 175.000 USD and in this conditions, owner take court action against master, against me as the person who declared to the flag, P&I and to ILO, IMO that crew are in area of abandonment according with MLC 2006, Standard 2.5.2 , and claimed huge amount of money. More than this, governmental organization, PSC answer to you that they arrest the vessel because crew not been paid from 6 months but they have no official documents that vessel is abandoned ….. no comment.
Govt. of Panama (16 July 2021)
From Panama Maritime Authority
The complaint consists of the crew requesting owed wages since more than a year, two years ago. Also according to the information we received they need provisions on board. No reply at all from the parties involved. Until now the status has not changed.
Once again, seafarers are the pawns in this unnecessary and ongoing abandonment case which puts the lives of the remaining seafarers on hold and clearly breaches their fundamental human rights to liberty, effective remedy, right to work, and not to be subject to cruel or inhumane treatment. Further, their human right to family life remains breached as their enforced separation from their families continues with no end in sight.
HRAS remains in contact with the Romanian ITF Inspector and the ITF in London, and has passed the latest testimony to flag State authorities.