Crew abandonment figures continue to horrify

Ahead of Saturday’s Day of the Seafarer, maritime platform RightShip today revealed new data to show that, as at the end of May 2022, 3,623 seafarers remain abandoned on 247 vessels in multiple locations around the world with some of the cases open for more than a decade. As these figures take into account only those abandonments that have been officially recorded, the real number of abandoned crew and vessels is likely to be higher.

The majority of seafarers known to be abandoned are from India, closely followed by crew from Ukraine and the Philippines.

The highest number of vessels left adrift is in the United Arab Emirates waters’, with 26 abandoned vessels, and when the data is sorted by flag state, Panama heads the list. Vessels that are between 26 and 30 years of age see the highest number of abandonments, but surprisingly, 32 new ships sailing for fewer than five years have also been cut off.

Steen Lund, CEO of RightShip, said: “The welfare of seafarers can no longer be ignored. When a ship is abandoned, if the crew leave the vessel it is far less likely that they will be paid, so they are forced to stay put, waiting, for months and sometimes years on end. The uncertainty of these circumstances is incredibly stressful for both the crew and their families left at home.”

Simon Grainge, CEO of shipping charity ISWAN, added: “In the last four years, ISWAN has been approached by more than 1,100 seafarers who have found themselves on abandoned vessels. The painful ordeal suffered by these innocent seafarers is disgraceful. Not only must the seafarers endure a traumatic experience for often a considerable period of time – their loved ones at home find themselves in desperate need of support.”

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.


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