- By Nithya Solomon June 22, 2020
The British port authorities, Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) detained five out of six vessels after a raid conducted on Friday morning due to deficiencies in the welfare of about 1500 crew members. These vessels are operated by the British firm CMV and owned by Global Cruise lines Limited.
The MCA in their latest released statement has stated the welfare of the crew members is of utmost importance on the account of which these five vessels have been detained. The transport secretary Grant Shapps mentioned that the government would not hesitate to do everything in its power to ensure the safety and well being of the crew members.
Investigation by the port authority revealed incidents like late payments, hunger strikes and one natural death (heart attack). It also reported that crew members were faced with situations against the Maritime Labour Convention Laws like retention of employees for more than 11 months due to which these vessels were detained by the MCA.
This plight of the stranded and distressed crew members has been stated as a humanitarian crisis by the International Maritime Organization which includes issues like delayed payments to crew members, members stuck on board beyond the permitted 11 months period, etc.
Steve Trowsdale of the International Transport Worker’s Federation said that after the implementation of the lockdown, the main focus has been on repatriation of passengers only and not of the crew members. “The cruise industry is in a real mess at the moment because of corona virus. What we have is a situation where you might have had 4,000-5,000 passengers on board and the first priority has been to get them off and repatriated, but you will have had 2,000 -3,000 crew left behind and they have been largely ignored and don’t get the repatriation,” he said.