Indian crew paid as little as $105 a month go on hunger strike

Hundreds of seafarers have been on hunger strike at several ports across India since the start of the week demanding a pension scheme and an increase in minimum wages.

The protest has been organised by the Forward Seaman’s Union of India (FSUI), which has sought an increase in the minimum wages paid to serving seafarers and pensions for retired sailors.

In a memorandum submitted to the directorate general of shipping, FSUI stated its chief demand is the implementation of the Maritime Labour Convention, and the implementation of a minimum wage. While MLC sets the minimum wage at $614 per month, domestic Indian shipping companies can get away with paying crew as little as $105 per month, FSUI claims.

The protesters are also demanding domestic seafarers get pensions of Rs5,000 a month.

The government has yet to act on the protests. In the past it has dismissed the FSUI, claiming it is not a real trade union.

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.


  1. There is a huge hidden mafia in India, complaining means never getting employed again. To further exacerbate matters there is a huge bank of trained seamen waiting to get employed &To get a job one must pay a bribe. So for a year or two wages might be net negative…..

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