Shanghai Maritime Court has ordered Indian shipping company Varun to pay $115,000 in landmark crew abandonment ruling, reports Splash 24/7.
Crew that were stranded onboard a Varun aframax tanker have successfully sued the owner at a court in China according to local Chinese newspaper Laodong Daily.
The case could mean that other seafarers that have faced similar treatment could take new legal action. The five crew members that have won the case will receive $110,000 in back pay and $5,000 in compensation.
The crew of the 1997-built Amba Bhakti had not been paid since February and conditions and supplies on-board the tanker had since deteriorated considerably. The ship had been abandoned by a shipyard to the north of Shanghai.
The Mission to Seafarers, a Christian welfare charity providing help and support to the 1.5 million crewmen and women worldwide, is challenging charterers to avoid using companies that have mistreated crew in the past. It has also requested port authorities to ensure that vessels have the necessary financial securities in place before allowing them into port.
Reverend Ken Peters from the UK charity told Splash earlier this year: “The failure to pay wages has a serious impact on families who are often evicted from their rented homes, have mortgages foreclosed, and unable to pay for education have their children send home from school.
“Seafarers are the easy target for reducing costs but inflicting such punitive measures on the innocent and ignoring their plight is unconscionable. Such behaviour is unacceptable and the shipping industry ought to speak out about those who, in attempts to maintain their other trades, sacrifice individual ships to uphold their business.”