UK Detains Five Cruise Ships Over Crew Welfare Issues

Five out of the six cruise ships inspected by U.K. Maritime and Coastguard Agency surveyors in British Ports Friday have been detained over crew welfare issues.

The Astoria, Astor, Colombus and Vasco de Gama at Tilbury, as well as the Marco Polo at Bristol, have all been detained after surveyors found a number of expired and invalid Seafarers Employment Agreements, late payment of wages and crews who had been on board for over 12 months. All these are in breach of the Maritime Labor Convention (MLC) and the ships have been detained for that reason.

All five are from the same company – Global Cruise Lines Limited. Four of the vessels are flagged with the Bahamas and one with Portugal (Madeira).

The sixth ship which also belongs to Global Cruise Lines Limited, the Magellan has not been detained after no significant deficiencies were found.

“The welfare of seafarers is of the utmost importance and we take any reports of safety concerns around crew incredibly seriously,” said Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps. “Following today’s investigation, five ships have been detained and we will not hesitate to continue to use every power within our control to safeguard the health and happiness of every seafarer currently working in the U.K.”

Director of Maritime Safety and Standards, Katy Ware, who is also the U.K.’s permanent representative to the International Maritime Organization (IMO), said, “This sends a very clear message that crew welfare remains a top priority for us both as a Flag and a Port State. We must care for the well-being and health of our seafarers who work so hard in the industry.”

The ships, which have been idled without passengers for months due to the coronavirus pandemic, will remain detained until the breaches of the MLC are resolved and the MCA invited back in to reinspect.

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