Saudi shipowner accused over Alleged Abandonment of Crews without pay

The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) claims that has received reports about withheld pay from individual seafarers working on eight ships owned by Hadi H Al Hamman Establishment. 

ITF accuses the company, in its press release, that has not paid seafarers for more than five months in some cases.

“With so many vessels from the same company involved, it seems likely that the owners are in some sort of financial difficulty,” said Steve Trowsdale, the ITF’s inspectorate coordinator. 

“But it’s not acceptable for its managers to be using seafarers’ pay to juggle their spreadsheets. These are people’s lives they’re playing with, not just the seafarers themselves but their families who depend on their salaries.”

The ITF has also added Hadi H Al Hamman Establishment to the Seafarers’ Breach of Rights Index, indicating an escalating issue across the company’s 35 ships.

The new index lists entities that infringe upon the fundamental human and trade union rights of seafarers.

The ITF condemns the practice of restricting pay as a way of managing shipping finances.

Trowsdale notes that according to international law, specifically the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006 (MLC), seafarers should be paid monthly. Crews who are owed more than two months of pay or lack sufficient food, water, and fuel are deemed abandoned, prompting intervention by insurers and the ship’s Flag State.

Trowsdale further criticizes Bahrain, where most of Hadi H Al Hamman Establishment’s ships are registered. Bahrain has not ratified the MLC and ITF now claims that no practical action has been taken to bring the owners to account despite the fact that ITF inspectors have informed the Bahraini maritime authorities about each case of abandonment.

Mohamed Arrachedi, the ITF flags of convenience network coordinator for the Arab World and Iran, said: “Bahrain is responsible for the ships it registers, including for the wages, working conditions in general, and the welfare of the crew. They have the power to hold this company to account, yet they’ve done nothing to help.”

The ITF explains in its release that has also contacted Gard, which provides financial security for these ships.

According to ITF, in cases of abandonment, this type of insurance should pay seafarers up to four months of lost pay and cover the costs of getting them home.

Mohamed Arrachedi also said that: “if Hadi H Al Hamman Establishment does not immediately meet its contractual obligations to its crew, the ITF will seek to activate the financial security covering the vessels, if such cover is present.”