Seafarers receive $120 million in unpaid wages through ITF’s efforts

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Inspectors from the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) have recovered $118.5 million in unpaid wages for seafarers between 2020 and 2022, according to figures released on World Maritime Day. In 2022 alone, more than $36 million was paid back to seafarers. The ITF inspectors work in 111 ports across 56 countries and are responsible for educating seafarers on their rights, detecting violations of crew contracts, and working with authorities to ensure those rights are implemented. Non-payment of salaries was the most common reason for breaches of contract reported by seafarers in 2022.

David Heindel, ITF Seafarers’ Section Chair, expressed the desire to see all seafarers paid in full and on time, stating that it is unfortunate that wage underpayments need to be addressed at all. In 2022, ITF inspectors conducted 8,667 ship inspections, with 1,878 of these in response to requests for assistance from seafarers. An additional 3,771 inspections were carried out to ensure compliance with international requirements for ships registered to Flags of Convenience (FOC) registries.

Paddy Crumlin, ITF President, highlighted the return to regular inspections of FOC vessels and the ongoing exploitation in the industry. He emphasized the importance of ITF inspections in protecting seafarers’ rights. The ITF and its affiliated seafarers’ unions have been supporting seafarers who wish to exercise their right to stop working during the COVID-19 pandemic since June 2020.

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