This comment feeds on the HRAS’ latest case study on Seafarers Abandonment in the UAE. Human Rights at Sea has been made aware of a series of human rights and labour abusive practices against seafarers. We were urgently contacted by Captain Ayyapan Swaminathan, Master M/V AZRAQ MOIAH (IMO – 961976, Flag -UAE), one of the three vessels anchored in the UAE who reported to the charity that 40 crew members, of whom 30 fellow Indian nationals were stranded in three vessels owned by the same shipping company, Elite Way Marine Services EST, based in DUBAI. All three vessels have been located in the anchorage site at the port of Sharjah in UAE, with outstanding salaries, lack of subsistence means, and no medical assistance for more than a year.

HRAS has highlighted this labour and human rights abusive practice of the shipping company Elite Way Marine Services in great detail with personal statements of the seafarers stranded on board kindly provided to HRAS. While we all spent Christmas at home with our loved ones, the 40 seafarers were away from the families, with insufficient bulk supplies, power cuts, no identification papers and most of all with little hope for repatriation, ultimately enslaved on board the ships.

HRAS as general rule ultimately becomes involved in such cases when seafarers have pursued their legal interests through the traditional avenues such as the unions, the ship-owner, the local authorities and have had little support.  Since publishing the case study and highlighting the case on our international platform we have been contacted by the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) while ITF, the ILO and IMO are also on notice as to this issue. We hope to work more collaboratively with all possible stakeholders, to put pressure and to make sure that the seafarers are soon as possible repatriated with their outstanding salaries paid to them.

Download and read the case study here


By Elizabeth Mavropoulou, Charity Administrator and Programme Manager. Human Rights at Sea

The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of SAFETY4SEA and are for information sharing and discussion purposes only.

Elizabeth Mavropoulou (LL.B, LL.M and DPhil Candidate) is Charity Administrator and Programme Manager at UK-based, maritime human rights charity, Human Rights at Sea. She is a Greek qualified lawyer (non-practising) and she holds an LLM (with Distinction) on International Law from the University of Westminster. She is currently a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Westminster where she is writing her doctoral thesis on international refugee law. She has been with Human Rights at Sea since the very beginning, in various roles, from legal intern to pro-bono advocate and now she acts as a the Administrator and Programme manager, responsible for the day to day running of the charity and its projects.