Bahrain has blacklisted Dubai-based shipping company Sea Links Shipping after it abandoned the general cargo vessel, Sea Lord, and 11 crew for almost six months without paying the sailors their wages, according to the Bahrain Ports and Maritime Authority.
The Sea Lord was left three nautical miles off Khalifa Bin Salman Port. It suffered a power outage that made living conditions onboard horrendous.
Abdulla Hassan, the ship’s captain, said the experience was like “living in a burning furnace.”
Bahraini authorities are now moving to repatriate the sailors who hail from Sudan, Pakistan, Syria, India and Myanmar.
The Mission to Seafarers, a UK charity, is challenging charterers to avoid using companies that have mistreated crew in the past, while asking port authorities to ensure that vessels have the necessary financial securities in place before allowing them into port. Cases of crew abandonment are spiking as the shipping downturn stretches on and on.
Last month, Reverend Ken Peters from the Mission to Seafarers blasted the rise in the incidents of abandonment as “an indictment on those substandard operators who bring the rest of the shipping industry into disrepute”.
“The human tragedy caused is desperate,” Peters told Splash, adding: “The lack of food, water and fuel makes a ‘dead ship’ a health hazard and unfit for human habitation yet seafarers are caught as the victims, often of financial mismanagement and not of their own making.”