Crew abandonment cases increased 10.92% last year which shows a worrying increase on figures from the previous year.

The International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) has already recorded a total of 132 abandonments which is 13 more than in 2022, an increase of 10.92%.

The overwhelming majority of those reports (129) were made by the ITF and the highest numbers of abandonments by flag state were in Panama (23), Palau (12), Cameroon (11), St.Kitts & Nevis (8), Uknown (8), Comoros (6), Tanzania (6), Togo (6).

The ITF reported that owed wages from these 129 reported cases are in excess of $12.1 million, 1,676 seafarers contacted ITF from abandoned vessels, Indian seafarers were the most abandoned with more than 400 cases.

ITF have received more than $10.9 million in owed wages from 60 of these vessels so far.

The final figure will exceed $12.1 million as cases take time to resolve and as other seafarers come forward, thereby increasing the amount of recoverable wages, as ITF claims.

Steve Trowsdale, ITF inspectorate coordinator, said: “The ongoing rise in the number of seafarer abandonments is unacceptable. It is a consequence of an industry where the seafarer can be a throw-away commodity.

“Seafarers and their families pay the ultimate price for the greed and non-compliance of ship owners, enduring the inhuman consequences of a system that compromises their well-being, dignity and basic human rights.

“ITF inspectors do an incredible job in holding to account those shipowners that try to get away with treating seafarers like some sort of modern-day slaves,” he added.

Under the Maritime Labour Convention 2006 (MLC), you are deemed to have been abandoned if the shipowner fails to cover the cost of a seafarer’s repatriation; or has left them without the necessary maintenance and support; or has otherwise unilaterally severed ties with them, including their failure to pay the seafarers’ contractual wages for a period of at least two months.