Audit showed that no wages were paid for 6 months – VG



ABANDONED: The bailiff allegedly took out a mortgage on the ship “Diavlos Force”. The crew has returned home. Photo: Norwegian Maritime Directorate

The Norwegian Maritime Directorate announced this fall that the crew of a Panama registered ship had not been paid for six months.

This is stated by the management in a press release.

One of the inspectors of the Directorate in Ålesund checked, among other things, salary payments on the ship “Diavlos Force” in connection with a port state inspection. According to the management, this inspection showed that the crew had not been paid for six months.

– The case of the Panama registered ship shows that it is important that we also monitor working and living conditions while on board ships, something we do now to an even greater extent than a few years ago. Having good and orderly conditions on board also increases safety, says Alf Tore Sørheim, head of the operational oversight department in the Norwegian Maritime Directorate.

Inspector Syver Grepstad of the International Transport Workers’ Federation says they have been approached by the families of the seafarers on board for lack of pay.

– There were no terrible living conditions on board, the main offense in the case was that they were not paid for half a year. Obviously this is devastating for Filipino seafarers who have families at home who depend on the transfers. They also couldn’t afford to buy their own tickets at home, Grepstad told VG.

THE INSPECTORS: This is where the inspectors from the Norwegian Transport Workers’ Union and the Norwegian Maritime Directorate board the “Diavlos Force” which is at the quay in Ålesund. Photo: private

The management states that after a lot of work the crew was allowed to go home and that they are now paid for four months.

– Prevents forced sales

– We arrested the boat on behalf of the sailors and started a lawsuit against the insurance company, Grepstad says, adding that the crew were from the Philippines, India, Indonesia, Russia and Greece.

He states that a rule change from 2017 means that everyone who owns a ship must have insurance that also covers the boat left behind. It also covers the possibility of receiving a salary for four months and the opportunity for the crew to go home.

– It took about four weeks from the dock to Ålesund before we got them home on the plane and then with four months’ salary, Grepstad says.

Before the Transport Workers’ Union came into the picture, he said, the crew had been told whether to give up all wage demands if they left the boat alone.

– It is heading towards a forced sale of the boat, but it will take a long time due to the complicated ownership conditions, Grepstad says.

Sørheim of the board states that the vast majority of inspections happily show that most seafarers have good working and living conditions.

– Still, there are still far too many cases over the course of a year showing that there are still shipping companies that do not take their seafarers seriously. These are the ones we purposefully seek and stop, says Sørheim.

The management inspects approximately 550 foreign ships every year and issues assignments about 120 times a year regarding working and living conditions. On foreign ships, approximately five percent of these findings relate to shortcomings in wages, employment contracts and working and rest times.

About 600 inspections are carried out annually on ships flying the Norwegian flag, which focus directly on the working conditions on board. On average, the Norwegian Maritime Directorate issues about 400 assignments annually regarding working and living conditions. The majority of this relates to matters relating to the equipment on board.

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