The fate of 12 predominantly Indian crew who gained international attention when their employer failed to pay them for more than a year may be determined by a Cork auctioneer.
A Scottish sheriff court has appointed Cork businessman Dominic Daly to sell the MV Malaviya Seven, an 82m supply tug currently detained in Aberdeen.
The 12 crew on the tug are owed more than £600,000 in wages, and it is hoped the proceeds of the sale will be used to reimburse them.
Mr Daly, who is best known for selling Naval Service ships and yachts detained in drugs hauls, was invited to handle the auction on October 17th in Aberdeen after a sheriff granted a warrant to allow the vessel’s sale.
The ship was detained by the British Maritime and Coastguard Agency in June of last year under merchant shipping regulations. At that point, the crew were owed more than £175,000.
Number of breaches
The ship was detained again in August of last year due to a number of breaches, including continued failure to pay the crew, faulty fire doors and pumps and other equipment flaws.
The Indian offshore service firm GOL, which had taken on the crew, went into liquidation, meaning its creditors, including crew, could not be paid.
The 12 men survived on the kindness of Aberdeen residents and were guests of honour at a Peterhead Football Club event. When six of the 12 flew home to India last week, they had not seen their families for 17 months. Their six colleagues have stayed with the ship.
The men’s case was taken up by the International Transport Workers’ Federation, which has highlighted cases of potential and actual exploitation of migrant workers at sea.
Mr Daly said the unpaid crew wages and unpaid harbour dues amounted to about €800,000 and that he hoped these would be covered by the ship’s sale. It is expected the harbour dues will only be paid after the crewmen are looked after.
The Norwegian vessel, built in 1994 and registered in Mumbai, India, is of a very high standard, Mr Daly said.