MLC in action: insurer covers expenses on Palladiys crew repatriation

The  insurance  company ROSGOSSTRAKH  paid the Busan-Vladivostok flight costs and cover expenses  on four-month wage debts for  three crew members of the Russian ship Palladiy, including a cook, a bosun and  a pumpman. It was possible  because the tanker  has had  two Certificates covering  financial responsibility of a shipowner to the  seafarers  in accordance  with the Consolidated Maritime Labour Convention (MLC).

It should be reminded that the problems  on Palladiy were found in August 2018. The  ship was detained due to debts to  a repair yard and wage debts to  the crew. However  the world knew  the  tanker a month later when the crew tried to leave the  South Korean port  without authorization   and defied authorities'  demands  to return into the  harbour. A patrol vessel  and  a chalk were  used to detain the  tanker. The  crew of  the  Russian ship offered resistance to the  South Korean authorities. The shipowner, who was on board at the  moment, and a captain,  a chief engineer and few seafarers were   arrested. Based on investigation and trial results, the owner of  the Palladiy was sentenced to two years and six months of  jail, the  master to one year of prison, and  another  three seafarers to ten months each. The  chief engineer received a suspended sentence. 

The SUR FERO's chairman Nikolai Sukhanov, quoting the union member Vyacheslav Nevsky, who held the pumpman position on the Palladiy and has visited the SUR FEROs office today,   said that the  crew immediately recognized the employer couldn't pay debts and  repatriate them following  the director of Daltrans and the  ship's  master were arrested. However the  port authorities indicated that the Palladiy wouldn't  be released before the  investigation  and court hearings to be ended.  

The people, remaining on the ship, has had to appeal to ROSGOSSTRAKH, in which Daltrans  insured its financial guarantees to the  seafarers in part  of wage payments  and repatriation. At the Consulate  General  of Russia  in Busan the crews wrote their appeals to the  company's director, requiring to cover flight costs and  wage payments. The diplomatic mission  passed the  appeals to the  Director of Marine Insurance at the ROSGOSSTRAKH headquarters  in Moscow. Then the  insurer  bought them the  flight tickets. After the  seafarers arrived at homeland and finished all formalities, the insurer  paid them four-month wage arrears. 

To insure the  responsibility of shipping company to its workers is a mandatory requirement  of  the Maritime Labour Convention. The respective amendments  came  into force  on January 18, 2017. According to amendments the shipowners should provide  two insurance certificates on ships acknowledging the  financial security of  seafarers. One of the  certificates confirms   a cash coverage  of outstanding wages limited  to four months, and also repatriation costs, and another compensation payments  due  to long-term disability  or  death. Remember, both certificates  should  be located in a visible  place on ship. A captain has to show the  documents to a crew member  upon  his/her  first request. 

Since changing in the MLC, 2006, it is the  fist case  of seafarers' repatriation and wage-debt payments   at the  expenses of  insurance company in the  Russian Far East,  Nikolai Sukhanov said. It's a example of the MLC  in action.

Photo: Nikolai Sukhanov (left) and Vyacheslav Nevsky (right).