Abandoned without food or pay. Happens all the time


that will never happen.
each vessel owned by individual company and might be dry chartered so owner is legit operator.
port has no lien over cargo
Whoever put the crew on board will never be found.
Hence my idea of a bond/bank guarantee
( something every vessel over 300grt needs to enter the USA re getting yoru USCG pollution certificate.)


It doesn’t matter and we shouldn’t care. If the crew is abandoned the port state should be able to sieze the ship. That would force whoever owns the thing to crawl out from under a rock somewhere or lose his investment.

The port state has the power to put a guard on the ship and prevent working cargo. Too bad if it can’t be unloaded. When shippers get burned as badly as the crew maybe they will demand more assurances that they are dealing with legitimate operators.

If the crewing agency loses their commission then so be it, let them share the risk of dealing with scumbag operators. See the above, when the beneficial owners are threatened with the loss of their investment they will crawl out from under the rocks.

As far as this idea of anonymity of owners or operators go, this is a national security issue and should be treated as such. There are laws covering money laundering, the IMO numbering system was developed to help prevent bad actors from using ships for terrorism, smuggling, or economic crimes. If the beneficial owner cannot be found then it should be an automatic reason for seizure of the vessel by the port state. What surprises me is in this day and age those ships with such shady ownership are even permitted to enter a US port.

If the US can enforce laws that allow a police department to confiscate the house of an old widow because her son got caught smoking weed then surely we can take equal measures to prevent the obscene practice of abandoning crews.


In 2014 ILO amended the MLC’06 Convention to strengthen the rules and protection against abandonment of seafarers:

(Full text in pdf attachment)

It is obviously not enough, but a step in the right direction. It applies worldwide, at least in countries that has ratified the MLC’06 Convention.


That’s actually a very reasonable idea.


None of that is necessary. The number of vessels becoming insolvent and abandoning crew in the US is very small, as is the money that would be spent. The US can well afford to pay the crew off and fly them home immediately. The US can use foreign aid money that had been earmarked for the offending flag state. Then the vessel can be sold. If the vessel is any good, it should be sold US with the condition it be US owned, flagged, and crewed for the rest of its life. If the vessel is junk, then it should be sold with the condition that it be towed to the scrapyard by a US flag tug and then scrapped.


It is all very nice to wish for simple solutions, but it has to be legally acceptable in the jurisdiction where the vessel is abandoned and by the flag state. IMO may pass “International Rules”,but they have no enforcement power, other then through member states.

For US or EU to take some unilateral action will not solve the problem, which is not so much affecting them. There are VERY few ships under US flag (2) or EU flag (2) on the ILO List of Abandoned Ships:
Neither are there many ships being abandoned in their ports (In the US only 6, Some more in EU countries)

The idea of a Bond for ships to enter individual ports in the world would be difficult to administer, not to mention get approved by all countries

A P&I Club Guarantee on par with the “Certificate of Financial Responsibility (Water Pollution)” require in the US, or the “Bunker Oil Civil Liability Certificate” every ship has to carry, would me much more feasible, in my opinion:
Such requirement only need to be approved and implemented by IMO.


That is all any of us were talking about.

My suggestions apply to the US and ships abandoned in the US. If 6 crews can be paid and repatriated without drama and misery for their families that is the goal. We shouldn’t have to wait until there are 20 or 50 to do the “right thing.” And quite frankly, the IMO can say or do anything it wants to, we need to make it legally acceptable to seize and sell any ship that is abandoned in the US or even enters US waters if the beneficial owners cannot be identified. Just because such actions are unilateral doesn’t make them wrong, in this case it appears to be the only way to make things right for mariners.


This was answered on post 35 /36

To address the issue of abandonment of seafarers, amendments to the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) will enter into force in January 2017. The amendments will be implemented in Hong Kong through the Merchant Shipping (Seafarers) (Working and Living Conditions) Regulation (L.N. 69 of 2016) (the “Regulation”). Section 59 (1) of the Regulation provides that:

"(1) A financial security must be in force in respect of a ship to ensure that any seafarer employed to work on board the ship is provided with assistance when the seafarer is abandoned."
Having adopted paragraph 9 of Standard A2.5.2 of the MLC (s. 59(2)(b)), the Regulation requires that the financial security, which will be provided by the P&I Club, must be sufficient to cover (i) outstanding wages and other entitlements due from the shipowner to the seafarer, limited to four months; (ii) the cost of repatriation; and (iii) the essential needs of the seafarer.


In one of the cases of abandonment in a US port, 6 Ukrainian seafarers were not only repatriated, they were Deported.


Yes, I posted one of those.

There is also a list of the countries that has ratified the ILO MLC Convention, with the latest amendments:
Even Mongolia is on the list, but one major nation is missing.


The U.S. voluntarily complies with the MLC… I know this because I have a certificate of voluntary compliance in my cert folder aboard ship that was issued after an inspection.

U.S.-flag vessels resulting in the issuance of a Statement of Voluntary Compliance, Maritime Labour Convention (“SOVC-MLC”).

A U.S. ship in compliance with a union contract will easily meet MLC requirements.


So since US is voluntarily complying, or may even exceed MLC’06 requirement, what is holding back ratification??

Looks like Splash is getting some response to their campaign:


Why do you ask AGAIN after we’ve already explained in detail why?

Quit sealioning and pay attention when people answer your questions.


Maybe I have a senior moment. Please explain it again, or link to your previous explanation.


I don’t know why the U.S. has not ratified.

This site discuses the subject.



Thanks. I’ll read through that, when time permits.


It’s most likely a matter of not wanting to be required to grant shore leave to any and all foreign sailors.

Also, I’m curious how that would effect US companies that don’t grant shore leave, like on many tugs and OSVs? Would domestic trade be exempt?


That fact that the U.S. is non-signatory is irrelevant as far as compliance. U.S. ships in ports in States that have ratified MCL must be in compliance. There is two ways to show compliance, either a document of voluntary compliance or an inspection. It’s much more convenient to show port state control a cert than undergo multiple inspections.

According to the U.S. Coast Guard, approximately 1,000 U.S. ships will be affected by the MLC, 2006 when it enters into force irrespective of U.S. ratification. Somewhere between 15,000 and 25,000 seafarers crew these ships. This figure is approximately half of the entire American fleet of 2,055 vessels. These numbers do not include American seafarers living and working aboard ships flying the flags of other nations. Due to the international routes of these particular U.S. ships and the system of enforcement created by the MLC, 2006’s “no more favourable treatment” provision, these ships will be required to comply with the MLC, 2006 to operate in the ports of States that have ratified the MLC, 2006. This effective enforcement mechanism originates in the three IMO pillars already ratified by the U.S.


When a foreign sailor arrive in the US aboard a ship, the decision to allow him to disembark is made by the CBP officer clearing the ship in. It doesn’t matter who owns the vessel or its registry.
Contrary to what many of those sailors think and to the disappointment of many of them, unless they are issued a temporary visa, this includes stepping off the gangway onto the pier to have a smoke or look for a payphone.