Controlling Hull Fouling: Behind the scenes of what keeps your ship ticking

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The relation of hull condition to fuel efficiency is no rocket science. For oceangoing vessels, there are opposing processes: for instance, the faster the ship moves through the water, the slower the growth of marine life on the hull; on the other hand, the more marine life that grows on the hull, the greater the resistance against the ship which in turn results in slower speeds and lesser distances covered.

The Clean Shipping Coalition estimates that a ship owner can ascertain fuel savings of 15 to 20 percent if the optimal coating technology were matched to vessels, properly applied and maintained. There is a corresponding decrease in emissions to be enjoyed as well. Even a small amount of smooth surface disruption on a ship propeller or hull can produce enough turbulence to reduce fuel efficiency. Therefore, there is good amount of reason to take proper preventive measures against the hull fouling of a ship.

Bio-fouling also has an adverse effect on the marine ecology of ports. The deep water vessels that transport cargo across vast oceans also have a propensity to transport viable marine life. These ships can carry invasive species which can harm the regional ecology and the mechanisms for transporting these are regulated by the International Maritime Organization.

Comprehensive guidelines have been established by IMO with respect to bio-fouling. For oceangoing vessels, it is very important for all stakeholders – both ashore and crew members on board– to keep the hulls of their ships free from fouling. This influences both economic and environmental bottom lines. Another area of concern are ballast tanks as these can be breeding grounds for invasive species; a far greater challenge deep water vessels compared to brown water work boats.

Fouling-control coatings include Anti-Fouling (AF) coatings and Foul-Release (FR) coatings. The former rely on biocides; the latter decreases adhesion strength through the mechanical properties. AF coatings typically are sacrificial coatings. They gradually wear off to expose fresh layers of biocide agents. But we must also take into account the harm done to environment by these coatings, from surface preparation efforts to paint application. Use of various coatings must be balanced against the other downstream consequences such as fouling, increased GHG emissions, etc.

It is of paramount importance that we know a vessel’s operating profile, because only after that is it possible to build a system that provides a five-year anti-fouling performance. Software can be used along with the operating profile to calculate film thickness. In this manner, the AF coating can be tailored to the needs of the customer, providing a much better fuel economy by controlling the roughness of the hull.

Another factor that we must consider is the method used to clean the ship’s hull. The cleaning schedule and methods depend upon an intimate knowledge of fouling processes. The adhesion of marine life to the ship hull depends on the type of coating as well as the species. The cleaning method chosen will depend on the degree of fouling or bio-fouling and the potential for the cleaning method to damage the various layers of coating. There will typically be several cleaning cycles before a new coating needs to be applied.

To conclude, perhaps the best investment that ship owners or vessel operators can make is to consult with a hull performance specialist who can advise them on what are the best practices of maintaining his/her vessel based on the climate and working conditions that the boat is under.

This can also help in ensuring that a coating is applied according to manufacturer specifications and a hull cleaning regimen is also developed that maximizes the life of the vessel and also its operating efficiency. The policies recommended and the maintenance work thus done will most definitely be recovered in fuel savings, reduced downtime and longer vessel ‘up-time.’

To this end, with an unparalleled blend of expertise and technology, Alphard has been successfully carrying out Diving & Underwater services since a year now. Our diving managers & Supervisors are commercial divers with over 25 years of diving experience, who add extensive amount of value to our client’s needs. We have our own dedicated Dive boats which are fully equipped with diving spreads on board which requires no loading time. More details of our services can be found at –



What is the Blue Economy? Potential and how to protect it.

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The “Blue Economy”, until recently was a foreign concept to many that only came into the spotlight in the aftermath of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development held in Rio de Janeiro in 2012.

To be precise, as an emerging development paradigm in the 21st century, blue economy conveys three interrelated but separate messages: Oceans, an estimated 75 percent of the earth surface, can contribute to economies; the need to address the environmental and ecological sustainability of the oceans; and the ocean economy is a growth opportunity especially for developing countries.

The economic potential of the planet’s waters needs no explanation. It is apparent even to a layman that oceans carry more than 90% of internationally traded goods; 13 of the world’s 20 mega cities are coastal; and half of the world’s people live within 100 kilometers of the coast. A study in 2010 estimated the size of the global ocean economy to be between $3 trillion and $6 trillion, providing over 2.7 million jobs.

However, economic activities aside, the sustainability of the oceans is crucial for economies, livelihoods and food security for both animals and humans. As former US Secretary of State John Kerry aptly remarked: “Protecting the ocean is a necessity that contributes to our economy, climate and way of life”.

Since the early 2000, growing concerns over terrorist attacks and piracy on port facilities in Southeast Asia, off the Coast of Somalia and in West Africa have turned the spotlight on the need for enhanced maritime security capabilities to secure the blue economy. Maritime security and blue economy are inter-dependent in two ways. Maritime security is an enabler of the blue economy. It safeguards navigation routes, provides important oceanographic data to support marine-based economic activities, and protects the rights of countries over valuable marine resources and activities within their maritime jurisdiction.

Inversely, maritime security is galvanizing the growth and development of the ocean economy. A functioning economy can boost the security institutions (military, police, and intelligence), order and public safety. The growth of the blue economy has increased investment in maritime security capabilities. Countries with maritime security capabilities can underwrite their marine environmental security. Oceans contain 80% of the earth’s life and produce more than half the oxygen we breathe. They moderate the planet’s climate by absorbing about 90% of the heat trapped in the ever thickening atmosphere.

Securing blue economies can ensure food security for both humans and animals. Generally, oceans provide livelihoods for an estimated 3 billion people who depend on marine and coastal areas including fishing, tourism, trade, transport and energy. The earth’s waters provide the primary source of protein for more than 3.5 billion people. Moreover, securing the blue economy will provide renewable “blue energy” and a diversity of energy sources in form of wind, wave, tidal, thermal and biomass to ease the growing demand on fossil fuels globally.

Marine biotechnology can create an eco-sustainable and highly efficient society. The global market for marine biotechnology products and processes is currently estimated at US$ 2.8 billion and projected to grow to around US$ 4.6 billion by 2017. The blue economy is now a strategic priority for pivotal African states. In 2014, South Africa unfurled its “Operation Phakisa” in order to boost its blue economy capacity.

Similarly, Kenya’s hosting of the Blue Economy Conference unveils its renewed efforts to prioritize the blue economy in line with its Vision 2030 agenda, the African Union Agenda 2063, and the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Nairobi is keen on expanding its share of the western Indian Ocean blue economy, estimated to be US$ 22 billion. On November 21, 2018, President Uhuru Kenyatta launched the Kenya Coast Guard Service to safeguard its immense resource potential in its ocean waters. Kenya’s revenue losses from illegal fishing constitutes an estimated Sh10 billion annually.

Besides piracy in the Indian Ocean, Kenya has a dispute with Somalia over maritime boundaries. At the heart of this dispute is a potentially lucrative triangular stretch of 100,000 square kilometers offshore territory, about 370 km from the coastline, believed to be home to huge oil and gas deposits. Ultimately, developing a collective security dialogue and mechanisms is central to securing the ocean economy.

To this end, Alphard’s Security division combines the wealth of experience in our management structures and applies our expertise to provide a cost effective maritime product. We offer a highly competitive rate based on a detailed risk assessment and a tailored client focused product whilst maintaining the highest adherence to industry standards.

To know more visit

Improving infrastructure key in breathing new life into the Maritime logistics industry

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Maritime logistics in the country can be improved only with better infrastructure facilities, said experts during a panel discussion organized by the India Maritime University Kochi, Central University under the Ministry of Shipping on the theme of implications of logistics in the maritime sector.

The discussion chaired by G Raghuram, director of IIM Bangalore, saw the eminent speakers such as Jose Paul, former chairman, Mormugao Port Trust; Prakash Iyer, president of Cochin Steamer Agents Association; Ajithkumar Sukumaran, principal officer-cum-Jt DG of MMD Kochi; Capt. Joseph J Alappat, harbor master, Kochi Port Trust.

“Developing countries in the world incur a transport cost of 22 per cent on the import value of their goods. Whereas the developed countries in the world spent nearly 11 per cent. There is a 100 per cent difference in this. It underlines the need for better infrastructure facilities in our country in order to make an impact in the field of logistics,” said Jose Paul during the discussion.

Commenting on the upcoming Vizhinjam Port, Iyer said joint efforts of all the stakeholders are essential for making logistics a success. He also stressed the port’s importance to stakeholders in south India’s hinterland. Unlike the Vizhinjam project, which has seen stoppages in construction mainly due to bad weather conditions and persistent cyclones, several other ports like Dighi have been engulfed by administrative lockdowns and their future can now only be described as questionable.

Ajithkumar stressed the importance of improving the maritime sector through the integration of technology and artificial intelligence. He also threw a limelight on remodeling the curriculum of maritime universities to meet future needs.

Alappat discussed the challenges being faced by the government and private ports in India with respect to tariff and decision-making mechanism. “At present, 97 per cent of the cargo transportation is carried out by the private parties. Only 3 per cent of the transportation is carried out by the government parties. This needs to be improved,” he said. If a PPP model can be established to solve this problem, the public integration part of it will be less risky and resource intensive.

On the other hand, Raghuram discussed various topics making it to headlines in the logistics sector, including DDP Policy, cabotage law relaxation and India as a transhipment hub. He also commented briefly on the government’s decision to recall the much-debated DPD scheme. He summarized the way ahead for India logistics industry is through SWIFT – Sustainability, Warehousing, Information and technology, Fragmentation, Transport infrastructure.

Outlook on the future of Ship repair and maintenance market

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Ship repair and maintenance service providers are offering flexible and affordable solutions for all classes of offshore, marine, and naval platforms, rigs, vessels, marine and mooring units along with underwater and afloat inspection, repair and maintenance services. Furthermore, the need for decommissioning, off-hire, dry docking, and downtime is expected to reduce, resulting in time and cost savings. The share of ship maintenance and repair services in the overall cost of a ship is relatively low (range 5-7%) than crew and fuel expenses, and may go up to 20% as the ship becomes old. Economic factors such as maintenance and repair cost, quality, safety, duration, marketing, and environment may impact downtime due to failure or voyage repairs, fines and penalties for air & sea pollution, possible cargo damages, and other failures. A systematic approach, reliability-centered maintenance, should be taught to the workers to develop an effective, cost-effective, and focused maintenance program for such complicated system, as a ship.

The global ship repair and maintenance services market is estimated to grow during the forecast period owing to strong demand for repair and maintenance programs with the increasing lifespan of ships and to provide best possible quality and safety to the crew and goods during transportation. Furthermore, with the increasing trade in various countries, such as Russia, China, France, and India, the demand for ships is expected to increase leading to increasing ship repair and maintenance repair services for the new ships in the fleet.

The major factor which is estimated to hamper the growth of ship repair and maintenance services market during the forecast period is the apparent lack of training to the personnel regarding repair and maintenance of a ship. Furthermore, with the growing use of advanced fiber materials for ship construction by replacing steel and iron may significantly lower the demand for ship repair and maintenance services, which may hinder the global ship repair and maintenance services market over the forecast period.

The global ship repair and maintenance services market can be segmented based on ship type and service type. Ship Repair and Maintenance Services Market Segmentation By Ship Type – Cargo Ships, Tankers, Passenger Ships, Fishing Vessel, High Speed Craft; By Service Type – Engineering & Retrofit, Load Tests, Interior, Solas, Cleaning, Others (Painting, Spare Parts, Insulation, Etc.)

Europe is estimated to be the most matured and dominating region in the global ship repair and maintenance services market due to strong investments in France, Russia, and other EU countries over the last couple of years with innovations and high-efficient shipbuilding in progress. Asia Pacific has witness substantial growth over the last 50 years due to investments in Korea, China, and Japan. Furthermore, the service providers and ship manufacturers are shifting focus towards India, Vietnam, and other ASEAN countries to combine their own high level skills with relatively low-cost labor in order to gain maximum profit. Latin America and the Middle East & Africa are further expected to witness substantial growth in the ship repair and maintenance services market owing to strong demand for maintenance programs and services in countries such as Brazil, UAE, South Africa, and Turkey.

Alphard provides a variety of services that can help you in prolonging the life of your vessels – from hull cleaning, dry docking, UTG/NDT inspections to maritime security. Take a look at the plethora of ship repair and maintenance solutions that we have to offer –

Sea under Siege: Getting to the bottom of Maritime piracy and How to tackle it

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On the 24th of September, a group of pirates attacked a Swiss cargo ship off the coast of Nigeria, kidnapping 12 crew members in a region that has seen dozens of similar attacks so far this year.

During the first quarter of 2018, the Gulf of Guinea alone accounted for around 40 % of the world’s overall maritime piracy incidents evidencing the perennial presence of theft and violence at sea.  Nigerian waters are now rated worse than Somalia as the global maritime report on piracy has put Nigeria on the spot.

There have been many a great additions to the spectrum of dangers to the maritime economy. Illegal activity in protected areas, import/export of prohibited goods, exploitation of preserved and endangered natural resources, marine pollution, illegal maritime arrivals, bio-security risks, and maritime terrorism are some of the primary factors comprising this notorious list. But still, it is maritime piracy that continues to be the greatest troublemaker of them all.

Somalia has seen unprecedented amounts of violence, types of which were unknown to modern day shipping. The International Maritime Bureau (IMB) has spent a great amount of resources to fight against this growing threat of maritime piracy by making use of international relationships with maritime agencies, encouraging heightened collaboration between states, strengthening defenses of potentially vulnerable vessels and promoting greater vigilance among ship owners.

Maritime security threats are an amalgamation of various concerns and thus attempting to solve one problem without understanding other associated threats will more often than not result in a failure.

For instance, Somalian piracy was the end result, but it had its origins in illegal unreported and unregulated fishing. The fishermen, deprived of their livelihood by foreign IUU fishing vessels, resorted instead to maritime piracy and so a criminal enterprise was born.

The same is now transpiring in the Gulf of Guinea and Southeast Asia, with the initial catalyst to both being states’ failure to control fisheries and their own exclusive economic zones.

A recent innovation to combat this has been integrated maritime surveillance systems, which enable the sharing of data between multiple agencies and ultimately nations. The use of artificial intelligence within the systems enables the most advanced to identify, through satellite tracking, those vessels displaying high-threat behavior and then highlight them to an operator. But this is up to the states being afflicted and concerned governments investing some amount of resource in association with IMB.

But until concrete steps are taken to curb this menace, it is the down to individual companies, vessel masters and ship-owners to take protect their on-board resources – both life and property which can be headache in absence of expertise needed to handle these High Risk Areas and associated routes.

To help protect ship-owners’ interest in these treacherous waters, Alphard’s Security division combines the wealth of experience in our management structures and applies our expertise to provide a cost effective maritime product. We offer a highly competitive rate based on a detailed risk assessment and a tailored client focused product whilst maintaining the highest adherence to industry standards.

Alphard Maritime understands that Risk Assessments are a critical element of any counter-piracy solution. With our dedicated 24 hours Operations Department, we closely monitor all relevant sources of intelligence for information that will assist in the protection of our clients. Alphard invests in the right personnel who are able to interpret the data for the elements which are intrinsic with operational success. The detailed Risk Assessments are the output of this correlation of data that Alphard produces, which is very useful for every transit our teams undertakes. We provide tailored Intelligence Analysis reports which is collected and scrutinized from multiple reliable sources to provide our clients with a dedicated and effective view of any possible threats.

We have a strong track record and a client list of over 300 companies, protecting more than 1000 merchant vessels (EXXON, BP, Anglo-Eastern, MOL, V Ships, Fleet Management, Columbia, Executive Ship management). We also provide maritime security services in West Africa which includes operations from/to Lomé in the highly dangerous Gulf of Guinea Piracy HRA – (High Risk Area).


For more information and inquiries – visit us at


LNG Bunkering the future as shipping industry looks to environment friendly alternatives

The LNG bunkering market is expected to witness a CAGR of 62.5% over the next 5 years, and is projected to reach $24 billion by 2023. The primary factors driving the growth of LNG bunkering market are increase in demand in order to reduce the carbon footprint of vessels, stringent emissions policy in the shipping industry and the evergreen search for a cost effective alternative fuel; not to mention the government floating initiatives to support such green companies.

Advantages for LNG are manifold, first of all as a fuel it releases lesser amounts of pollutant when compared to the more traditional fuels (fuel oil and marine diesel oil) due to the negligible amount of sulfur content, and its combustion producing lower nitrogen oxide. The bunker fuel is primarily used by the marine vessels such as bulk and general cargo vessels, tankers, container ships, offshore port vessels, and ferries. But there several obstacles that the LNG bunkering market is facing, including the high initial infrastructure development cost and, the regulatory landscape and competition from alternative fuels.

As per Market Watch, in 2017, Singapore the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) commenced its LNG bunkering pilot project. Under the project, the MPA has provided various companies with grants of up to $2 million per LNG-powered vessel constructed.

In 2016, the International Maritime Organization notified that the effective date for the reduction of marine fuel Sulphur will be 2020. After that there’ll be a new worldwide cap, ships will have to use marine fuels with a Sulphur content of no more than 0.5% Sulphur against the current limit of 3.5% Sulphur in an effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions which are the primary reason behind global warming and climate change.

The LNG bunkering market will be dominated by ferries and offshore service vessel during the forecast period of 2017-2023. Ship-to-ship LNG bunkering market is expected to witness a CAGR of 56.0% by 2023 owing to its quick transfer operation.

Asia-Pacific region backed by high marine trade is expected to grow at the fastest rate during the forecast period. The LNG bunkering market in North America is expected to be benefited owing to the decline in natural gas price in the region

The African region and Middle East, especially Qatar is expected to make a good business in the LNG bunkering market owing to the abundance of LNG in the region.

The key companies dealing in LNG bunkering market are Skangas, Gazprom Neft PJSC, Royal Dutch Shell Gasum, KLAW LNG, Korea Gas Corporation, ENN Energy Prima LNG, Fjord Line, and EagleLNG.

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Illegal immigrants attack Coast Guard patrol boat off Tunis

A fishing vessel harboring Illegal immigrants of Tunisian, Congolese and Ivorian descent was intercepted by a Coast Guard patrol boat on 18th August off Tunis, in their attempt to make way to Italy. When the coast guard vessel ordered them to stop, the immigrants started throwing dangerous Molotov cocktails at the coast guard.

But as luck would have it, the migrants ended up setting their own vessel on fire. Four Tunisians were arrested along with eight migrants from the Ivory Coast and two from Congo and one of them was hospitalized for burns. Tragically enough 4 of those 14 migrants lost their life in the process while the Coast Guard vessel sustained damages.

It’s no surprise that a growing number of Tunisians are choosing to leave their homeland behind and take on the risk of going across the Mediterranean in search of a better lifestyle in Europe.

In the first half of 2018, nearly 2,660 people were arrested in Tunisia during attempts to make the sea crossing, compared to number amounting to only 564 during the same course of time last year. Several deadly shipwrecks have taken place in recent months, including one on 3 June that killed 87 people.

This is a serious issue – imagine tens or hundreds of migrants, picked up by a vessel and creating a ruckus if the ship is refused entry by a port or stuck at sea for indefinite periods of time. Imagine if the ship attempts to disembark them at a place other than their proposed destination. What if they try to raid the on-board supplies (food, medicine) and pose threats when refused? Imagine it’s a tanker in load, or dry cargo ship loaded with dangerous goods (any given container ship has containers with hazmat on board).

Any incident, intended or not can cause huge losses in terms of life and property. Therefore, all parties who are propagating merchant vessels to take part in “migrants rescue”, are waiting for disaster to strike and that too sooner rather than later. Merchant ship must be officially banned from “migrants rescue” operations, as Law of the Sea has nothing to do with “migrants rescue”.


Tanker missing off Gabon coast with 17 sailors on-board

A tanker is missing off the coast of Gabon with 17 Georgian sailors on board, officials said on 21st August 2018.

The ship “disappeared” from tracking screens on August 14, the source said, while regional military officials said the potential search area was between the Gabonese coast and the Sao Tome and Principe archipelago.

Specialist websites list the 121-metre ship, the Pantelena, as a 7 000-tonne, 12-year-old dual-purpose oil or chemical tanker.

The vessel is Panamanian-flagged and owned by a Greek company, Lotus Shipping Co. Ltd.

The Georgian foreign ministry in Tbilissi, in a statement issued last Friday, said there were concerns for 17 Georgian sailors onboard and a search operation was being conducted with the help of the British maritime authorities.

Gabon lies on the southern part of the Gulf of Guinea – the great bend in the coastline of West African – where pirates are a infamous problem for shipping.

The Pantelena “turned off its locator beacon,” a device that tracks a vessel’s position by satellite, a regional military official said.

“The first thing that pirates do when they board a ship is to cut off this beacon.”

A crew member aboard a ship sailing between Libreville and Port-Gentil, Gabon’s economic hub, told AFP: “We received a distress message over the radio and we alerted the Gabonese navy.”

A Gabonese navy official confirmed, “We received an alert… about the Pantelena, but we didn’t have enough information to intervene.”

In Sao Tome and Principe, which is located about 260km from Gabon, the commander of the local coastguard, Joao Idalecio, said it had dispatched a patrol vessel with a crew of 30 to search for the tanker.

In February, a Panama-registered tanker, the MT Marine Express with 13 500 tonnes of gasoline was seized with its crew as it was anchored off Benin. The ship and crew were freed several days later.

Last month, the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) said that its specialist piracy reporting centre had recorded 107 incidents worldwide in the first six months of 2018.

“All 25 crew kidnappings reported this year have occurred over six incidents in the Gulf of Guinea, highlighting the higher risks in this area,” the IMB said.

However, the true number of incidents in the Gulf of Guinea is believed to be “significantly higher,” its report added.


Explosion on UAE-bound Indian oil tanker near Oman

Three sailors were injured on Tuesday in an explosion on an Indian crude oil tanker off the coast of Oman, the company said.

The Shipping Corporation of India says the tanker was en route to Fujairah when the explosion struck the MT Desh Vaibhav in the Gulf of Oman. The vessel started its journey in Sikka, India.

One crew member suffered burns in the blast and was airlifted by helicopter. The Omani navy and other ships responded to the fire.

Three crew members are being treated at an Omani hospital and are responding well to treatment, hospital sources said.

“Three sailors of this vessel were picked up from the sea by other vessels that were sailing past and now they are being treated here in Oman,” a ministry of health spokesman told the National.

In a stock disclosure filed by the shipping company, they said: “the fire has been extinguished and the ship is fully manned and operational”.

The Omani coastguard official said that the vessel has already left Omani waters and he believed it has been docked in the UAE’s Fujairah early Wednesday morning. The vessel started its journey in Sikka, India.

“As far as we are concerned, the vessel has been seaworthy just hours after the explosion and set sail towards the UAE. The Omani navy helped with the fire,” the coastguard said.

The identities of the nationals are unknown and a company spokesman declined to comment, as did Omani officials and the Indian embassy in Muscat.


Ordeal of 57 Abandoned Ukrainian Seafarers Finally Over


Being a seafarer is all but an easy task and the fate of 57 Ukrainian seafarers that managed to return home after being left high and dry for over a year at sea proves that.

The seafarers in question include 27 crew members of MV Mekong Spirit and MV Free Neptune, according to the Marine Transport Workers’ Trade Union of Ukraine (MTWTU), which has managed to repatriate the mariners with the help of the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine.

The seafarers of the Maltese-flagged containership Mekong Spirit were stuck in Greece after their ship was detained off the island of Crete on May 25, 2017 on suspicion of smuggling military goods to countries/regions under United Nations sanctions.

The ship was escorted to a NATO base where a cargo inspection performed by the relevant Greek authorities, found that the cargo was legal and industrial. Nevertheless, since January 2018, the seafarers were prohibited from leaving the territory of Greece.

Following a legal proceedings, on July 23 a court decision was issued, allowing 12 crew members to leave the territory of Greece, subject to compulsory monthly registration at the Consulate General of Greece in Ukraine. On July 28, 2018, the seafarers returned back home, MTWTU said.

“It was like an American action movie, when masked people climbed the ship and put us all on the deck face down,” recalls the Mekong Spirit oiler.

Another 5 Ukrainian crew members remain in Greece until the final decision on the case is taken by local justice.

One of the most notorious cases, widely covered by the world media, is that of MV Free Neptune, a Liberia-flagged bulker, and its seafarers, who were abandoned and unpaid for 32 months 4 miles offshore Oman.

The ship was owned by Greek shipowners Free Bulkers SA, which declared bankruptcy in 2016 and abandoned the bulk carrier with 22 Ukrainian seafarers on board.

“The wages were not paid, but they persuaded us that they were about to pay. Then they took the ship to Oman, and that’s it, we were caught in a mousetrap,” says the 3rd engineer of MV Free Neptune.

Due to poor living conditions, lack of food and medical supplies, the Ukrainian sailors resorted to a hunger strike at the end of 2016 to draw attention to their problems.

The ITF helped to purchase food, and the Ukrainian Consul in Saudi Arabia assisted with provision supply, MTWTU said.

In February 2017, seven seafarers returned home. In accordance with the MLC, 2006 Convention, the repatriation was organized by the Liberia Maritime Authority, the vessel’s flag state.

In 2018, through the ITF-led efforts a court authorized the remaining crew members to legally leave the ship and the seafarers managed to obtained a partial wage balance settlement.

Reported by World Maritime News