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Indian Seafarers abandoned offshore Namibia threaten suicide over unpaid wages

Human Rights at Sea publishes its latest detailed case study with personal statements from a group of abandoned seafarers in Walvis Bay, Namibia.

Eight Indian seafarers have been on board “MV HALANI 1” (flag State: St Vincent and Grenadines, IMO No: 7816379) between one and two years variously with unpaid wages, suffering from fatigue and serious mental health problems, including written statements indicating some crew member’s preparedness to commit suicide.

Captain Amarjit Singh Bajwa first contacted the charity’s Iran-based researcher, Miss Hajar Hejazi, to appeal for urgent help on behalf of himself and his seven Indian crew members who remain stranded at Walvis Bay, Namibia. He stated that: “We ask for justice to prevail”.

Halani 1 is a DP3 vessel that works with offshore oil rigs owned by “Halani International PVT Ltd”, a company based outside of Dubai, in Sharjah, UAE.

The HALANI 1 case has been registered on the IMO’s abandonment database since last year having been first informed via the ITF, but in the last two weeks the charity has been contacted by the Master, as the issue of payment of outstanding wages has still not been rectified and P&I cover has lapsed. Further, the mental health and crew threats of suicide remain a very real issue.

Welfare support has been provided by The Mission to Seafarers with Ben Bailey, Director of Advocacy and Regional Engagement commenting: “The Mission to Seafarers in Walvis Bay has been involved in this case from the start, providing counselling support services and advocating on the crew’s behalf with key stakeholders, including the legal team and the India High Commission. We are extremely concerned for the crew’s mental health which is declining with each passing day. The crew have been let down on multiple occasions, and have had promises of full wages and repatriation consistently broken. We urgently call on all parties to work together to find a solution. The seafarers on board must be repatriated immediately – they and their families are effectively being held captive and have suffered for far too long.”

Founder and Trustee, David Hammond, stated: “Human Rights at Sea remains committed to continuing to publicly showcase abusive labour and human rights practices towards crew from the first-hand perspective of front-line seafarers and who, in this case, have directly appealed to the charity for help when all other legal avenues and official channels have apparently failed to resolve the matter.”

Hammond further commented that: “Our charity further finds it concerning that in all of our latest publicly available case studies, the abandoned crew are predominantly Indian seafarers. This begs the question of what is the level and detail of State scrutiny and commercial ship manager due diligence checks into the seafarer recruitment process in India, reflecting implementation of the 2011 UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights at the very least?”

Source: Press Release

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