|Abandonment ID:|| 00477|
|Ship name:||Oriental Dragon[disputed]|
|7-digit IMO no.:||7125861|
|Port of abandonment:||Penang, Malaysia|
|Abandonment date:||13 July 2020|
|Notification date:||23 October 2020|
|Reporting Member Govt. or Org.:||ITF|
|No. of Seafarers:||243|
|Nationalities:||China(117); Myanmar(119); Malaysia(1); Ukraine(6)|
The seafarers have not been paid since March 2020. Contracts of almost all seafarers have expired already and no one is having effective contract in the next month. The owner, Hopewin Shipmanagement Co Ltd in Hong Kong promised seafarers in last August that they would pay salaries of March, April, May, June and July in September but the promise has not been fulfilled yet, and seafarers have been abandoned by the company.
|Actions taken:||21 October 2020: Flag State informed|
Reported this case to Panama Maritime Authority on 21-Oct-2020 and a response was delivered by Chief of MLC Section in the next day noting that the complaint was sent to General Directorate of Seafarers according to the circular MMC 264 regarding on board complaint procedures. An additional audit would be conducted by the recognized organization, and the Flag, General Directorate of Merchant Marine, would carry out and safety inspection.
|Repatriation status:||Repatriation pending|
243 seafarers are awaiting repatriation.
|Payment status:||Payment Pending|
7 months outstanding.
|Comments and Observations:||Govt. of Panama (9 November 2020)|
On October 23, 2020, this Administration received a labor complaint against the vessel based on the abandonment of 243 seafarers, with pending salaries (since March 2020) and pending repatriation. We proceeded according the regular procedure by contacting the Registered Owner, Operator and/or Local Resident Agents, regarding the labour complaint filed, and looking to obtain a promptly clarification and solution of the situation denounced.
Govt. of Panama (31 December 2020)
On October 23, 2020, this Administration received a labor complaint against the vessel based on the abandonment of 243 seafarers, with pending salaries (since March 2020) and pending repatriation. We proceeded according the regular
procedure by contacting the Registered Owner, Operator and/or Local Resident Agents, regarding the labour complaint filed, and looking to obtain a promptly
clarification and solution of the situation denounced.
Through Email of November 09, 2020, the financial guarantee of the ORIENTAL DRAGON ship issued by the company SEACURUS / THOMAS MILLER CLAIMS MANAGEMENT (Claims Handlers) was activated, and notified to the email firstname.lastname@example.org
By Email dated November 11, 2020, the financial guarantee activation request was reiterated via email to email@example.com
In response to the lack of response, the request for activation of the financial guarantee was sent to Patrick.Bond@thomasmiller.com, who by Email of November 14, 2020 proceeds to confirm receipt of the claim and indicates that they will be assigned a correspondent to attend the claim.
On November 19, 2020, an email was received from the P&I informing us that they have instructed their correspondent in Malaysia to attend to the case and that despite the difficulty of the case they will try to repatriate the entire crew.
By Email dated November 23, 2020, the P&I was asked for information on the progress made in dealing with the claim for the abandonment of the ORIENTAL DRAGON ship. Our request for information on the procedures for the repatriation of the crew was reiterated by Email of November 25, 2020, December 21, 2020, and December 31, 2020.
The Maritime Authority of Panama is closely monitoring the progress regarding the care of the abandonment case.
ITF (5 March 2021)
The case has now been referred to the High court in Malaysia. Disputed.
ITF (4 May 2021)
The vessel has been arrested by the crew, supported by ITF. All non-essential crew have now been repatriated with the assistance of Thomas Miller as the MLC financial security provider. Crew have also received the 4 months wages required by MLC, but are still owed many months.
Unfortunately, a number of crew are required to remain on board to satisfy safe manning requirements, some of whom have already been on board for 19 months, well in excess of the 11 month limit established by the MLC.
In addition, the vessel owner has opposed and attempted to undermine the claims of the crew and the actions of the MLC financial security provider at every step of the legal process. They have consistently denied responsibility for the crew and sought to prevent the crew from obtaining the wages they are rightfully owed.
It seems manifestly unjust that the crew, despite being abandoned, despite the positive intervention of the financial security provider and despite taking actions of their own to protect their interests should still find themselves in this situation with little or no support from the governments who are obliged to protect them.
I would like to ask the flag what action they intend to take in respect of an owner who operates in this way as we have seen little reaction or response from the flag to date. Will the owner face any sanctions?
Govt. of Panama (14 July 2021)
From Panama Maritime Authority
Through Email dated Dec 21, 2020, addressed to P&I, we informed that on Friday, Dec 18, 2020, Mr. Fusao Ohori-ITF told us that between communications of Mr. Chu and him can read that he appears to have abandoned the ship and crews, and that the ITF gave him 2 weeks of time frames to have him arrange salary payments to crew but he failed to do so by 11 Dec 2020. In this regards, we urgently request your assistance to initiate the repatriation process, in accordance with the MLC.
Through Email datd Jan 18, 2021, reiterate through email Jan 25, 2021, both addressed to P&I Club, we informed them the comments received from Mr. Fusao Ohori-ITF, whereby he informed that "...nothing has changed in the situation and seafarers are suffering from mental and physical problems seriously. ..." In this regards, we urgently request an update of the repatriation process, in order to verify if any seafarer has been repatriated.
Through email dated Jan 25, 2021, P&I respond that "... MLC underwriters are preparing to pay almost 200 crew with up to 4 month's back wages. Each payment requires verification of the individual crew identity and AML & Sanctions checks. In the meantime MLC underwriters have spent around US$ 300,000 in the past 2 months on essential provisions, fuel and machine spares for the vessel...."
Through email dated Feb 10, 2021, reiterate through eamil dated Feb 15, 2021, both addressed to P&I Club, we request for an update if there is an estimated date to start with the salary payments of the crewmembers, and informed them that this Administration has been informed that the insurance company request a 1st batch list of 50 crewmembers to initiate with the repatriation process, so requesting any update in this matter.
Through email dated Feb 10, 2021, P&I respond that "We are working with the ITF and the vessel has now been arrested. We are sending a representative on board to collect bank details tomorrow."
Through email dated Apr 14, 2021, P&I and Mr. Oleg Mulia Captain of the vessel confirm that the repatriation process is well under way. Until now the P&I has successully reptriate 38 seafarers from Myanmar divided in two groups.
Through email dated May 11, 2021, Mr. Oleg Mulia Cptain of the vessel informed that last batch (31 crews) of non-essential crew is planned for repatriation on 21 May 2021.
Will remain on board 22 seafarers only to maintain the ship in the safe condition. Additional we have requested the P&I to inform us if they have proceeded to file a formal petition requesting reduce of the manning up the vessel before court.
Through email dated May 21, 2021 Captain Jeya AFNI Sheriffs agent filed a formal motion requesting reduce of the MSM considering that the vessel is arrested in port without any operations, requesting to maintenance 13 seafarer on board.
Through email dated May 25, 2021 PMA accept the requested motion and authorized the vessel to maintain on board 13 seafarers. Additional this Administration is coordinating an inspection to be held in next days.
Currently there are 21 Crew seafarers of the essential crew. They are waiting for replacement and further repatriation.
By information received on June 23, 2021 form management assigned by Court, Silverline, They inform that replacement of remain on board crew is in progress.