I’m sorry to hear that the crew remains unpaid for months.
As I understand it, TAL and that ship work exclusively for the US Government under a corporate welfare program that pays TAL freight rates that are 10 times higher than normal commercial rates would be. And the US Government is not doing anything to compel TAL to pay its crew? That’s an outrage. TAL should be disqualified from bidding on government contracts until it pays the crew. The MSC should withhold any payments due to TAL until arrangements are made to pay the crew.
I’m embarrassed by the US Government, and that the US remains a banana republic when it comes to the treatment of mariners.
I assume that’s the California Department of Labor that came aboard? That’s good. They may, or may not, be able to compel TAL to pay you, but having them involved will help.
Where the hell is MEBA? As I understand it, at some point MEBA went to the ship and got the crew to sign pledge cards, the NLRB held an election and MEBA won. So MEBA represents the crew, or at least it represents the engineers. It does not matter whether TAL has signed a union contract or if it’s still under negotiation, MEBA represents at least part of the crew. MEBA should be doing whatever it takes to get TAL to pay the crew.
Go to the MEBA union hall and ask for help.
Go to the seamen’s center and ask for help.
If you have a mortgage to pay and a family to feed, obviously, you need to get off that ship and go make a living. If you have no financial obligations and need employment “experience” and seatime, and you have no other options, then It might make sense to stay aboard awhile longer and see what happens. Eventually, TAL will either find some money to recapitalize the company, or it will be forced to file for bankruptcy.
Whether they pay you or not, you might want to think about getting off that old rust bucket before it goes to sea again.
How are you doing for food and water?