Middle EastOperations

Alco Shipping disputes crew abandonment claims

A few weeks after the case of four ships abandoned in the UAE waters, the Middle Eastern company Alco Shipping Services has hit the headlines again for a tanker allegedly arrested in the Mediterranean.

A few days ago a seafarer publically tried to draw the attention of the Indian minister for external affairs on Twitter posting a picture of the crew onboard the tanker Qaaswa stuck off Tunisia near Sfax port. There are 16 seafareres onboard and according to what Marine Debt Management reports, they are without food or fresh water with the ship lying off Sfax for a month. Marine Debt Management also highlighted the fact that Qaaswa is the fifth ship operated by Alco Shipping in a desperate situation.

Human Rights at Sea recently published an investigative report concerning the bad treatment of crew onboard several vessels operated by the Sharjah-based company.

Following a request for clarification, Alco Shipping Services in response attacked the crew telling Splash: “The Pakistani captain and second engineer onboard, along with the Indian chief officer and third officer not only spoiled the shipowner’s name but also their country name with the relevant authorities for their personal benefit.”

In a long statement the company said that “since the vessel was on charter to an Oman-based company and charterer put their representatives on board responsible for the loading and discharging of the diesel, these two with the Indian chief officer could not play to steal the diesel and sell it for their personal benefit. These three made so bad with the charterers rep that he resigned and left the vessel and after that these three started to put their demand which the owners refused and preferred to get rid of them. Their sign off is under process”.

The Arab shipping company said it has sufficient evidence against three of them that they were showing more consumption and keeping diesel a side which they sold and adjusted while taking bunkers.

“The Pakistani captain with second engineer and Indian chief officer have like hijacked the vessel for the last more than one month and forcing all other crew to sign off together one day with new replacement so there should not be any evidence against them,” Alco Shipping goes on explaining, emphasising that the charterer cancelled the contract.

“Provisions onboard are till June 15, which is signed by the captain before sailing,” the company concluded, adding also: “Salaries for all the 22 crew have been paid up to June 6 without any maintenance job being carried out onboard by these crew for the last 45 days and while disembarking from the vessel today”. Today a new captain was sent onboard and the vessel is expected to sail again.

Nicola Capuzzo

Nicola is a highly qualified journalist focused on transport economics, logistics and shipping with broad experience in both online and printed media. Specialties: shipping, ship finance, banking, commodities and port economics. He regularly interviews Europe's top shipowner executives for Maritime CEO magazine.


  1. Human Rights at Sea stands by the evidence presented to the charity by the crew and the contents of their personal impact statements which can be read at: https://www.humanrightsatsea.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/20170609-MV-Sharjah-Moon-FINAL-SECURED.pdf
    Any evidence to the contrary should be publicly disclosed to support public assertions that the crew were complicit in theft and corruption, in order that those assertions can be dealt with accordingly.
    Human Rights at Sea
    14 June 2017

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