Malaviya Seven, a platform supply vessel owned by the Mumbai-based GOL Offshore and detained off the port city of Aberdeen, Scotland, faces the prospect of being sold to recover dues of its 36-member Indian crew amounting to over $650,000.
The vessel operating under the India flag has been arrested by the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) and detained by the United Kingdom’s Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA). Many of its crew members have been on board the vessel for over a year, facing financial difficulties.
Earlier this year, the Theresa May government enforced the provisions of the Modern Slavery Act to allow law enforcement officers to board and search vessels, seize evidence and arrest offenders where it is suspected that modern slavery is taking place.
Detained since October 5, 2016, Malaviya Seven failed MCA's port state control inspection on five counts: calculation and payment of wages (no records), seafarers employment agreement (invalid), wages (missing), fire pumps and pipes (not as required), and fire doors/openings in fire resisting divisions (not as required).
An ITF spokesman told HT: “The arrest warrant was served on the company in India last month. The legal process allows the company 42 days to respond to the court with their intentions regarding the arrest of the vessel, and we then request a hearing and apply for the sale.”
“Twelve Indian nationals are left on board the vessel; some have been on board over 12 months and all crew on board are part of the arrest, plus 24 off-signed crew listed in the arrest writ. In total 36 seafarers are owed wages going back to Jan 16 in excess of $650,000”.
ITF inspector Liam Wilson, assisting the crew, said: “We’ve been helping these men since the beginning, particularly with their basic needs such as food and water, while working to recover the money that is due to them”.
Some crew members attended Easter Vigil Mass last month in St Peter’s Church in Aberdeen.
Wilson added: “We have reached a point where the only way that these men are going to get home with the money they are due is to help them arrest the ship, and we have now taken that move. We anticipate that…the ship will be sold and what is owed to them recovered from the sale price”.
ITF UK and Ireland coordinator Ken Fleming said: “To say that workers are owed USD 666,938.03 is in itself a scandal. The owners and the Indian flag state should hang their head in shame. Equally all those that could have brought the situation to an end months ago should reflect on their inactivity”.
Established in 1983, the Mumbai-based GOL Offshore describes itself as “India’s prominent integrated offshore oilfield services provider offering a broad spectrum of services to upstream oil and gas producers to carry out offshore exploration and production (E&P) activities”.