|Abandonment ID:|| 00414|
|7-digit IMO no.:||9119983|
|Port of abandonment:||Port of Djibouti|
|Abandonment date:||15 September 2019|
|Notification date:||19 November 2019|
|Reporting Member Govt. or Org.:||Govt. of Greece (Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Insular Policy)|
|Circumstances:||The vessel was arrested by government authorities for debts.|
West of England P&I
|Repatriation status:||7 November 2019: Other|
As of 7 November 2019, 12 seafarers were repatriated from Djibouti by West of England P&I; the remaining will be repartiated by 30 November
27 January 2020: Repatriation pending
Permanet Mission of Greece to the Office of the United Nations informed ILO that Greek seafarers have been remained onboard.
5 February 2020: Other
The ILO has addressed an urgent intervention to the Government of Djibouti on 5 February 2020 on this matter.
20 February 2020: Repatriation pending
Following the ILO's intervention, Djibouti government informed the ILO as below.
They launched a mission of enquiry and the enquiry confirmed the reasons why the two ships had been arrested: issuance of 23 confiscation/arrest orders and withdrawal of Liberian flag.
The unmanning of the two ships and the repatriation of the crews are not authorized by the authorities for reasons of port security and public health, non-compliance with their minimum manning certificate and insurance.
A possible solution would be the judicial sale of the two ships.
27 April 2020: Repatriated
Two (02) remaining Greek Crew Members have been repatriated on 27.04.2020
|Payment status:||27 April 2020: Partially paid|
1) Pending by the shipowner.
2) Maximum wages covered by the financial security system under standard A.2.5.2 of MLC,2006 have been paid by the P&I Club (West of England).
|Comments and Observations:||Govt. of Liberia (28 July 2020)|
We also would like to take this opportunity, to request for assistance, and humanitarian consideration to be provided an access for immediate repatriation of several seafarers onboard the vessel PTOLEMEOS, and her sister vessel ARYBBAS, both currently at Djibouti anchorage. These named vessels and the seafarers were both abandoned by the shipowner late last year, and a related report of abandonment was submitted to the IMO/ILO abandonment data base. The P and I club West of England P and I, as the MLC financial security provider took over to support the needs of the seafarers onboard, as provided by MLC A/2.5.2 from October of last year to date. However, to date majority of the seafarers onboard are due to go home, and there are also no prospect of these seafarers to be allowed access for repatriation. The last information that this Administration has received, that the arresting parties of the vessel are refusing to auction the vessel, and this also affected the rights and welfare of the seafarers to be repatriated.
The latest information that we have received from the P and I club, that since their obligations to pay the wages up to maximum of 4 months as allowed by the Convention has already been done, the only support that they continue to provide now are just for the accommodation, food, and catering of the seafarers.
Other (30 July 2020)
From International Group P&I Clubs
There are presently 9 original Filipino crewmembers onboard the Arybbas and 10 on the Ptolemeos, 1 original crewmember Mr Vedeanu and 9 Sri Lankan crew who replaced 9 Filipino crew on 23/11/19. We believe that Global Gateway, are paying the remaining crew on board.
The West club’s overall costs on these abandonmenst to date are: Arybbas US$ 957,662.00; and Ptolemeos US$ 1,725.929.75. This includes payment of 4 months wages for the 24 original crewmembers, and ongoing costs for food, bunkers medical costs etc.
The Club has made two applications to arrest the vessels and logged one appeal. These have been disallowed by the Djibouti Courts. It is worth noting that seven (7) other parties with legitimate claims have had their applications to arrest the ship refused.
In parallel to private procedures before the Djibouti courts, it seems that the Port Authorities are trying to arrange the vessels’ auction pursuant to a unilateral and administrative decision, which suggests they may want to sell the vessels and keep all of the proceeds without the arresting parties having any claim to any of the proceeds, including the seafarers who are still owed salary in excess of the 4 months paid by West.
The West has sought co-operation with the ITF at regular intervals during the abandonment and they are certainly involved in correspondence concerning Mr Vedeanu between the Romanian Embassy in Cairo and the Romanian authorities.
The West received a request from Global in June 2020 asking for their assistance with a repatriation flight for the replacement of a Sri Lankan crew member OS Linka Gamage. The Club refused on the grounds that it does not have any liability in respect of the replacement crew.
It is important to note that the ship came off risk when the owners went into financial default and cover duly terminated. Without the West’s interventions the crew would be in a perilous situation with no obvious means of support, food, water etc.
However, the West has agreed to arrange medication to be provided for the 3rd engineer on the Ptolemeos and this has been debited to and paid by Thalina Shipping who are the manning agents for the Sri Lankan crew instructed by Global. We were advised by the Master that the 3rd engineer had the cost of the medication debited from his wages. That does not seem right to us.
It is abundantly clear that these abandonment cases could and should have been resolved shortly after they occurred. The West stood by immediately and sought to repatriate the crew expeditiously, as required under the MLC. The Djibouti authorities’ actions to date have been entirely inconsistent with the obligations of a state party to the MLC. The authorities have consistently frustrated the provision of medical care, obstructed the repatriation process, made unreasonable demands that amount to a hostage exchange whereby abandoned seafarers are traded in exchange for replacement crew. The arrest proceedings leave much to be desired and for reasons best known to the courts, legitimate creditors have been denied access to the arrest proceedings.
ILO/IMO (2 October 2020)
Urgent Intervention to Djibouti (Minister of Labour and Minister of Transport)
ITF and ICS requested the intervention of the ILO concerning the situation of abandonment cases, "PTOLEMEOS" and "ARYBBAS" in Djibouti. Nine (9) crew members (Philippines) have still been on board the vessel "ARYBBAS" for a year now, and one (1) member of crew (Romania) has been on board the "PTOLEMEOS" for more than 14 months. In addition, eight (8) crew members (Sri Lanka) who were dispatched to replace the crew of the "PTOLEMEOS", have also been on board for more than 10 months now. At least two of the crew members on board the aforementioned ships appear to be facing serious health problems. On the other hand, we have been informed that the local port authority of Djibouti continues to refuse the repatriation of abandoned seafarers as well as their access to medical care on land.
In accordance with Standard A2.5, paragraph 7, of the MLC, 2006, ratified by Djibouti, any Member is required to 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. 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 a seafarer (standard A2 .5, paragraph 8). In addition, under Regulation 4.1, paragraph 3, of the MLC, 2006, Member that have ratified the MLC, 2006 shall ensure that seafarers on board ships in its territory who are in need of immediate medical care are given access to the Member's medical facilities on shore.
Taking into account the fact that the conditions of these seafarers who are on the territory of Djibouti are deteriorating more every day, I allow myself once again to urge you so that you give without further delay the necessary instructions for the taking of all the measures necessary to allow the prompt repatriation of seafarers who have been abandoned for a year or more and to meet the urgent health and well-being needs of all seafarers on board.
I would also be grateful if you could provide the ILO with any information on the issues raised in this communication as soon as possible.
ILO/IMO (5 November 2020)
As a follow-up to the Joint ILO-IMO Letter of Intervention of 6 October 2020, ILO has convened during the month of October a total of 6 operational meetings concerning the long-standing abandonment situation of the seafarers on board the vessels “PTOLEMEOS” and “ARRYBAS” at anchorage in Djibouti.
These meetings have benefitted from a growing presence of partly high-level representatives from the States of origin Philippines, Romania and Sri Lanka; the flag State Liberia; all crewing agencies involved, IMO, ITF and ICS.
The Djiboutian authorities have been invited but never attended. We have invited the following persons to attend the 6 operational meetings without success nor reaction: the harbour master, a port authority representative, the agent, and a Ministry of Transport representative (all involved in the prior repatriation of the Greek seafarers). ILO has invited the Permanent Representative of Djibouti to the UN to the last operational meeting (telephone call with her Assistant). She was made aware but did not attend.
The 6th and last meeting on 22 October therefore decided to suspend the operational meetings and take it at another level, a much higher level.
ITF (5 November 2020)
Jointly with ICS.
We respectfully remind State parties to the MLC that they are obliged to facilitate the repatriation of abandoned crew and intevene to prevent current or porspective crew members on board ships from serving in conditions entirely inconsistent with the MLC. In this instant, to facilitate or fail to prevent the transfer of new crew on board Ptolemeos will not protect them from unsafe working conditions and perilous living conditions. We therefore request your urgent intervention to protect the proposed Bangladishi crew from a situation from which they will be unable to escape unless or until another fully paid crew is able to replace them.
We urge all governments to continue to apply maximum pressure on the Government of Djibouti in order to secure the repatriation of the current crews on board Ptolemeos and Arybbas.
Other (23 November 2020)
From West P&I club
All original crew members that were abandoned will leave Djibouti today (23/11/20) at 7pm local time bound for Manila via Addis Ababa. The West has arranged and paid for the flights in accordance with its obligations and the crew have received four months wages and entitlements in accordance with MLC, Standard 2.5.2. Repatriation of the crew and their arrival home will therefore conclude any and all MLC liability on the West P&I club.
Despite the best and significant efforts of West, the Liberia flag, officers from ILO and IMO, ICS and ITF, these cases were resolved only by virtue of the sale of both ships to a new owner. The authorities in Djibouti remained fixed in their position throughout the period of these abandonments and refused to facilitate the repatriation of abandoned seafarers until or unless they were replaced by other seafarers who in turn risked abandonment. The way in which these cases have been handled remains a cause of deep concern for the International Group and we ask that the social partners, ICS and ITF, consider presenting a joint statement or possibly draft a Resolution for consideration at the forthcoming STC on the MLC in April 2021, which could and should describe the need for MLC States Parties to adhere to their treaty obligations, to respect abandoned seafarers and not treat them as hostages to be exchanged for others.