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Charity Intervenes and Abandoned Officer Gets Paid

Credit: HRAS

By The Maritime Executive 2018-10-17 19:07:33

The U.K.-based charity Human Rights at Sea (HRAS) has intervened to facilitate the successful repatriation of an Ethiopian Chief Officer who was abandoned on Kish Island in Iran. The officer's wages have also been paid after negotiations led by HRAS Iranian intern, Sayedeh Hajar Hejazi.

The charity was contacted by the seafarer on October 12. He had completed a six month contract which had been extended by four further months without pay before the owner had deducted two months and 20 days' salary without permission. 

HRAS has previously highlighted the case of abandonment on Kish Island. Earlier this year, after the actions of human rights charity Justice Upheld, 17 seafarers abandoned by various maritime companies on Kish Island were rescued. None had been paid for over two years. 

Among the men were 12 Indian nationals, three Ethiopian nationals and two Filipino nationals. They were afraid to reveal details of the companies involved out of fear of reprisal.

Solicitor Jas Uppal founded Justice Upheld to provide legal help and representation to victims of human rights abuses who do not have the financial means and capacity to assert their rights and seek redress. The charity was contacted by one of the men, only to find other cases of seafarers found in a “master and slave” relationship. 

Some of the seafarers had been on Kish Island for over a year, waiting to be paid their outstanding salaries. Their respective employment contracts had expired, and they were left in limbo waiting for the return of their identity papers. 

On Kish Island, they were given substandard food and access to fresh water was limited. They reported that they were suffering from health problems. Access to medical services were denied. 

When Justice Upheld reported the case to the Indian and Filipino embassies, the matter was dealt with and the men were paid and repatriated at end of May. However, some of the seafarers alleged that their respective employers had made deductions from their salary to cover the fare of their flights, amounting to $400.

HRAS continues to receive evidence of seafarer abandonment on Kish Island.