UK: Detained Indian ship to be auctioned to pay crew
A vessel operated by a Mumbai-based firm is to be auctioned more than a year after it was detained in Scotland so that its crew can be paid their outstanding wages.world Updated: Sep 15, 2017 18:29 IST
Malaviya Seven, a platform supply ship owned by Mumbai-based GOL Offshore, is to be auctioned to pay the salary of the Indian crew and other dues after the vessel was detained in Scotland for more than a year for failing an inspection on several counts.
Crew members stranded on board the vessel, docked at Aberdeen, have been playing cricket on the deck or visiting local football matches and churches to while away time, as efforts to resolve the issue reached the sale decision in court on Thursday.
Twelve Indian nationals are left on board, and some have been there for more than 12 months. Another 24 off-signed crew are listed in the arrest writ.
A total of 36 seafarers are owed wages in excess of $650,000 going back to January 2016, according to the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF).
An ITF spokesman told Hindustan Times: “ITF inspectors are assisting the crew daily and spearheading the legal case on their behalf. This latest development is the next step towards the aim of getting crews both paid what they’re owed, and safely home with their families.”
The vessel will now be advertised for sale and auctioned following the ruling by sheriff William Summers at the Aberdeen sheriff court. The process will be overseen by the sheriff clerk. GOL Offshore is reported to be in liquidation.
Media reports put the estimated sale price of the vessel at £850,000.
A hearing was held in the Aberdeen civil court in August to decide whether the Union Bank of India, which has securities in the Malaviya Seven, would object to the vessel’s sale to help pay wages to the 12 men.
The bank reportedly backed down, and sheriff Summer ruled that a report should be produced on how the sale could proceed. The men are now hoping to be home with their families within a month or two.
The vessel operating under the Indian flag was arrested and detained by the UK’s Maritime and Coastguard Agency after it failed a 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).
GOL Offshore, which was established in 1983, 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 activities”.