Petition Started for Forty Abandoned Seafarers
The human rights charity Justice Upheld has launched a petition calling for action to help 40 seafarers abandoned in UAE waters.
The British charity is instructed by the international crews comprising of Indian, Sudanese, Tanzanian, Eritreans, Filipino and Ethiopian migrant workers on board various ships owned by Elite Way Marine Services, who say they have been abandoned at sea, some without pay for over 27 months.
Justice Upheld says the seafarers are enduring endure appalling and inhumane living conditions on board the unseaworthy ships and that they are denied access to medical treatment. Some of the seafarers have been posting videos of conditions on board.
abandoned Indians & Iratriya seafarers stranded by elite way marine UAE, stranded for 27mths @HHShkMohd@PMOIndia @SushmaSwaraj @hratsea @nchro@IndembAbuDhabi @ProtectorGenGOI @hrw @Justice_Upheld @sushilrTOI @LogicalIndians pic.twitter.com/A7tBqIc28D— Shaheen Sayyed (@nihahs24) January 10, 2019
“We understand that one of seafarers is a diabetic; he has been denied access to medical treatment,” says Jas Uppal, founder of the charity. “The men are clearly traumatized.”
She claims that Elite Way Marine Services has confiscated the passports of all of the seafarers and is ignoring all communication from them.
Anecdotal evidence collected by Justice Upheld directly from victims of abandonment confirms that abandonment is widely practiced in the Gulf States. “The disturbing practice of ‘abandonment’ is a deliberate ploy used by some shipping companies in the Gulf States to avoid paying the salaries of migrant workers. It is targeted and discriminatory. The intention is clearly to exploit the migrant workers,” she says. “It is enslavement - modern slavery. Defenders and protectors of human rights must show solidarity by supporting this cause.”
The charity's research indicates that trade unions have extremely limited presence and influence in the Gulf States. “It is game of wits used by shipping companies predominantly in the Gulf States to force seafarers to leave without the income due to them or compromise and settle for considerably less than due to them.”
In July last year, Justice Upheld acted to bring about the rescue of 17 seafarers abandoned by various maritime companies on Kish Island in Iran. None had been paid for over two years.