ITF: Ordeal of Natig Aliyev Crew Finally Over

Natig AliyevNatig Aliyev; Image Courtesy: ITF inspector Morten Bach

The Maltese-flagged oil products tanker Natig Aliyev, which spent eight months anchored south of Skagen, Denmark, has been released by Danish authorities, after the 19 crew members received their outstanding wages.

“After months of wrangling, USD 324,370 of unpaid wages was finally paid late September to the crew of 19 of the Turkish/Russian ship Natig Aliyev. This time the money was not paid by the shipping company Palmali Shipping but by the new charterer of the ship,” the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) told World Maritime News.

The ship had arrived at the anchorage south of Skagen in early February. Based on a dispute regarding bunker oil Danish authorities had arrested the ship owing to a claim made by a bunker company.

At the end of February, the Danish Maritime Authority also detained the ship after the report from ITF on violation of the MLC convention.

The ship was abandoned by its owners and the crew was in a dire situation being bereaved of basic provisions and denied their salaries.

The Russian crew members had called in for help from ITF in March, when Danish ITF inspector Morten Bach coordinated the payment of the crew dating back to November last year – a total of USD 250,000 dollars.

Bach said that the remaining portion of outstanding salaries paid on September 24 was secured with the help of a Danish agent in Aalborg that chartered out the ship to a company in Estonia.

The Estonian company also took over crew management for the Natig Aliyev, which has now sailed south towards a loading port in the Baltic countries.

Hence, the formalities regarding the cancellation of arrest as well as detainment have been resolved.

Bach added that the crew members were naturally happy to receive their wages and leave the anchorage.

“But it is shocking that a shipping company can treat its seafarers this way. Several of them had not been paid since late February. I can only warn unscrupulous shipping companies against entering Danish waters. In ITF we pay attention and we have a very good cooperation with the Danish authorities including the Danish Maritime Authorities,” he adds.

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