|Abandonment ID:|| 00403|
|Ship name:||Ula [disputed]|
|7-digit IMO no.:||8102414|
|Port of abandonment:||Asaluyeh, Iran > Port of Shuaiba, Kuwait|
|Abandonment date:||27 July 2019|
|Notification date:||9 September 2019|
|Reporting Member Govt. or Org.:||ITF (Jonathan Warring)|
|No. of Seafarers:||20|
|Nationalities:||Bangladesh(1); Georgia(1); India(17); Türkiye(1)|
|Circumstances:||No wages paid for 2.5-7 months. The vessel is in black out with no fuel and a constant lack of provisions.|
|Actions taken:||8 April 2020: Other|
ILO received a communication dated 2 April 2020 from ICS and ITF requesting the urgent intervention of the Director-General. Therefore, ILO sent an intervention letter to flag state (Palau) and port state (Kuwait) on 7 April 2020.
|Payment status:||4 March 2020: Partially paid|
It was reported that 15 members of the crew received a part payment on 4 March 2020. 10 crew members received nothing.
12 crew memberes disembarked last year without full payment.
They have not been given any information regarding when wages will be settled or when they can leave the vessel.
|Comments and Observations:||International Labour Organization (8 April 2020)|
From: NORMES, SECRETARIAT
Sent: Wednesday, April 8, 2020 3:46 PM
Cc: BANGKOK, Registry
Subject: Message from Ms Corinne Vargha, Director, NORMES
On behalf of Ms Corinne Vargha, Director, NORMES, please find attached a letter and enclosure for your attention regarding the intervention of abandonment of ULA.
This letter is being issued in electronic form only; no paper copy of the letter will be sent.
ITF (15 April 2020)
The vessel is now alongside in the port of Shuaiba, Kuwait. The crew reports that the vessel has been arrested, but we have not seen any official documents to confirm this.
The crew have reported that 15 members of crew received a part payment on 4 March. 10 crew received nothing. There are also 12 crew members who disembarked last year without full payment.
It is also reported that the Master and Ch Eng receive USD10,000 last week.
Five crew members have had their contracts terminated and are confined to their cabins. We are very concerned for the wellbeing of all crew, and these five in particular.
The crew have not been given any information regarding when wages will be settled or when they can leave the vessel.
Other (17 April 2020)
I am aware that there has been recent correspondence in respect of the MV ULA abandonment case and I have been invited to comment. For the sake of good order, I merely wish to inform you that, unfortunately, the ship is not insured by one of the 13 mutual insurers of the International Group of P&I Clubs (IG) – see here http://britishsteamship.com/ . Our member associations are listed here https://www.igpandi.org/group-clubs . The British Steamship has chosen a name that closely resembles the Britannia steam ship association aka the Britannia club, which happens to be one of two IG clubs that has never had an abandonment case.
We have absolutely no association with British Steamship insurer and for that reason I cannot provide guidance or intervene. I can only suggest that the Palau administration that granted registration services to the shipowner and approved the insurance provider, may now wish to review its list of approved insurers if they have grounds to believe that the insurer has evaded its obligations under the MLC. That is a matter entirely in the hands of the flag administration.
Other (28 April 2020)
Some crew members onboard MV ULA have declared to the company that they would wait until 7th of May for salaries to be deposited in their accounts otherwise they would stop working from 8th of May.
Govt. of Palau (1 May 2020)
The Palau International Ship Registry (PISR) has been monitoring the situation on board the ULA since September 1, 2019. On January 8, 2020, Chief Officer confirmed that the ULA had received adequate stores, and that an agreement had been reached for the settlement of wages, although cash was not yet on board. PISR thus believed that the situation had been resolved when, on March 30, 2020, it received a message from the ULA's master. requesting assistance from the Kuwaiti authorities to deal with an attempted mutiny on board. The captain reported that he had detained four crewmen in their cabin until they could be taken into custody by the Kuwait authorities and provided statements from the other crew members. On April 23, 2020, the Captain reported that the situation had settled down and the vessel was currently peaceful as they waited for the four crewmen to be able to disembark. Unfortunately, due to the current pandemic, PISR has not been able to physically visit the vessel to evaluate the situation. It has thus been relying on the master of the vessel to relay the situation. Based on the representations received from the ULA's master, PISR believed that the situation was under control. PISR will conduct an urgent investigation so that we can ensure the safety of all of the crew and satisfy all of our legal obligations. I will provide a further report to you as soon as I have additional information on this situation.
International Maritime Organisation (28 May 2020)
IMO requested the flag and port state concerned for a speedy resolution.
Govt. of Palau (14 September 2020)
Palau certified that the registration of ULA as a ship navigating under the Republic of Palau Flag was terminated on September 14 2020 because the registration certificates had expired since May 01 2020.
ITF (25 September 2020)
The vessel has been declared stateless. IMO, ITF and state parties continue to try to find a solution. Legal proceedings will be required to solve the case.
Govt. of Qatar (26 October 2020)
From Assistant Undersecretary for Labor Affairs, Ministry of Administration Development, Labour & Social Affairs
Please find below actions taken by our side against the “Aswan Trading and Contracting” Company and its chairman Nasser Hamed Al Nuaimi:
At first we have tried reaching the chairman of the company over the phone in order to try resolving situation amicably but unsuccessful.
On 8 of October we have initiated the inspection of the company and its premises where many violations have been found out and recorded; nonpayment of salary, overtime and asking staff to report to work for two consecutive weekends.
A report was prepared and submitted to Public Prosecution on 10th of October, concurrently it was found out that there are several arrest warrants already being issued against the chairman by the MoI and company is being blacklisted since 13 February, 2017. However, until now the authorities were not able to capture him.
Govt. of India (6 January 2021)
From Directorate General of Shipping
I am directed to state that the vessel MV ULA (IMO No. 8102414) was reported to have been abandoned at SHUAIBA Port, Kuwait. The vessel was reported to have 22 lndian Seafarers on board engaged through Indian Registered Recruitment and Placements (RPS) Agencies.
On taking up the matter with the concerned RPS Agencies, it was informed to the Directorate that the vessel is not abandoned; instead the vessel is detained by Kuwait Port PSC at SHUAIBA Port, Kuwait since 08.05.2020 due to non-compliance of MLC Procedures.
The Directorate General of Shipping has also taken up the matter with the following authorities:-
1. With the Ports and Maritime Organization-PMO, Tehran, Iran (Port State) as the vessel was earlier positioned there.
2. With the Palau International Ship Registry, Houston (Flag State Authority).
3. With the Ministry of External Affairs, Govt. of India, New Delhi with a copy to Embassy of India, Teheran Iran.
4. With the Director, Seamen's Employment Office, Mumbai to follow up with the RPSL companies.
5. With the Capt. Abdulla Al Hayyas, Federal Transport Authority, United Arab Emirates for taking necessary action as the vessel was positioned at Sharjah Outer OPL Anchorage, UAE.
6. With the Owner of the vessel M/s Aswan Trading & Contracting Company. In response to which M/s Aswan Shipping, Owner of the vessel MV ULA have intimated this Office that the owners/managers of the vessel have not left the crew without supply of provision & fuels and the wages of crew members. Owners have further stated that they had planned sign-off of the crew members. However, due to COVID 19, it couldn't be implemented & until situation of COVID l9 improves worldwide, sign off issues cannot be settled.
7. With the Indian Embassy to Kuwait with a request to provide consular access to the Indian Seafarers and intervene in the matter.
This Office is further intimated by the RPS Companies that due to outbreak of CORONA VIRUS, Kuwait Authorities have suspended the Visa Applications for all personnel and as soon as same gets approved, crew will be relieved from the vessel and repatriated back to India.
It is also stated that the Directorate is continuously receiving representations from Indian Crew on board regarding their unpaid salaries and pending sign-off. This Office is continuously pursuing the matter with the RPS agencies until sign-off and repatriation of all the seafarers serving on board MV ULA with their wages gets settled in full.
It is also pertinent to mention here that many of the crew onboard have completed more than one year which may lead them towards physical and mental fatigue & anxiety.
This Directorate has also requested to Ministry of Communications Department, General Administration for Transport Affairs, Director Marine Affairs, Kuwait for immediate intervention and assistance and to take up the matter with the Kuwait Port Authority for the early repatriation of Indian Seafarers so as to avert any causality and with the owners of the vessel for settlement of the outstanding wages of the seafarers.
In view of the above, your immediate interventions is also solicited with a request to take up the matter with the Kuwait Port Authority for settlement of wages and early repatriation of Indian Seafarers.
International Maritime Organisation (12 January 2021)
The request as here below concerning seafarers who completed their contract and are waiting to be signed off, is raising a good point. These seafarers appear now to be on board the M.V.ULA (IMO Number 8102414) on the basis of involuntary contract extensions. Therefore, they should not be considered part of the safe manning requirements.
Also, in such circumstances, it is considered a port State obligation to ensure that seafarers are able to exercise their right to repatriation. In this regard MLC, 2006 Standard A 2.5.1. par. 7 and 8 etc. state:
7. Each Member shall facilitate the repatriation of seafarers serving on ships which call at its ports or pass through its territorial or internal waters, as well as their replacement on board.
8. In particular, a Member shall not refuse the right of repatriation to any seafarer because of the financial circumstances of a shipowner or because of the shipowner’s inability or unwillingness to replace the seafarer.
We hope that those seafarers on board the M.V.ULA who are not considered to be part of the safe manning requirements could now soon be repatriated.
International Maritime Organisation (14 January 2021)
I forward a letter from Mr. Subhash Barguzer, Deputy Director General of Shipping India, which was received today concerning the ongoing abandonment case of the ‘ULA’ (IMO Number 8102414), having on board 20 seafarers from India (17), Bangladesh (1), Georgia (1) and Turkey (1), who were in need of medical supplies while the ship is insured with British Steamship.
In particular, Mr. Subhash Barguzer refers to an email dated 12 January 2021 that was received from the Master of the vessel MV ULA informing that the Crew on board have now gone on Hunger Strike since 7 January 2021 and because of which 6 Crew members were taken to hospital, that drops of Saline & Glucose for normalcy of their sugar level and blood pressure were given, and that the crew are demanding for immediate payment of due Wages and their Repatriation.
In this connection, Mr. Subhash Barguzer on behalf of the Directorate-General of Shipping, Mumbai requests the Ministry of Communications Department, General Administration for Transport Affairs, Director Marine Affairs, Kuwait for immediate intervention and assistance and to take up the matter with the Kuwait Port Authority for the early repatriation of Indian Seafarers so as to avert any causality and with the owners of the vessel for settlement of the outstanding wages of the seafarers.
ITF (5 March 2021)
19 crew remain on board awaiting repatriation and their owed wages. These crew are on hunger strike.
6 crew have disembarked and been repatriated with no wages.
Some of the remaining crew are seeking to be repatriated with no wages.
ITF (10 February 2022)
All crew have been repatriated but remain unpaid The ITF has offered legal assistance. Case in the courts.