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Vijay Mallya’s superyacht impounded in Malta for non-payment of wages to crew

The luxury yacht was confiscated by a London-based trade union to secure payment of four months’ unpaid wages, totaling more than $615,000.

india Updated: Mar 07, 2018 10:31 IST
Prasun Sonwalkar
Prasun Sonwalkar
Hindustan Times, London
Vijay Mallya,Malta,Maritime Labour Convention
Vijay Mallya’s luxury superyacht was confiscated by a London-based trade union in Malta on Tuesday over wage dispute (Reuters File Photo )

Controversial liquor baron Vijay Mallya’s luxury superyacht worth $93 million was impounded in Malta on Tuesday by a London-based maritime trade union over the non-payment of more than $1 million in wages to its members who were working as its crew.

Named ‘Indian Empress’, the Isle of Mann-flagged superyacht was abandoned by Mallya in September last, the union Nautilus International said, and added that it was trying to recover an additional $330,000 in unpaid wages and other costs on behalf of its members.

There are over 40 crew on the yacht and individuals are owed anything between $6,250 and more than $92,000, it said, and added it was the first time financial security provisions of the international Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) had been invoked in the superyacht industry.

Mallya, a self-proclaimed “King of the Good Times”, is facing extradition to India to answer a series of allegations of financial misconduct. He was arrested in London last year and is on bail until April 2. The next hearing in the Westminster Magistrates Court in London is scheduled on March 16.

Nautilus said it had made ‘pioneering use’ of the provisions of the MLC to secure the payment of four months’ unpaid wages, totaling more than $615,000.

It said in a statement: “In line with the ‘safety net’ financial security provisions of the convention, the Union ensured that these payments were made to the crew by the Norwegian protection and indemnity insurance specialists Skuld last week”.

“Now the Union has arrested the superyacht in Malta to enforce a maritime lien seeking the payment of further outstanding wages and other costs over and above the amounts covered by the MLC”.

Danny McGowan, the union’s strategic organiser, said: “Our members onboard gave their employer and the ship owner multiple opportunities to pay monthly wages, displaying a loyalty and restraint greater than many would show in such situations”.

“These opportunities were regularly ignored by the owner, leaving us with no option but to take the case to the courts”.

The union’s direct of legal service, Charles Boyle, added: “The superyacht sector is seen as one of glamour and glitz, but the sad reality is that crew members can experience exploitation and abuse and that is why Nautilus has become increasingly involved in such justice cases”.

First Published: Mar 07, 2018 09:14 IST