Reported rates of seafarer abandonment show no signs of slowing, with current figures listing 9,925 men and women cast adrift over the last 20-years.
This is according to the latest research from leading ESG-focused digital maritime platform, RightShip, as part of an urgent review to highlight this concerning trend and spur the industry to action.
The research demonstrates that cases of reported abandonment have been on the rise for five consecutive years, with other notable peaks forced by the 2009 financial crash and the 2017 MLC convention. Most recently the pandemic and conflict induced abandonments have resulted in a steady uptick, with cases recorded in countries across all continents, led by the UAE, Spain and Turkey. At the close of 2022, 103 vessels were abandoned, impacting upwards of 1,682 seafarers.
Abandonment case disputes, as revealed by RightShip in February 2023, are still causing unacceptable levels of financial hardship, with the latest data showing that over the last 20-years unpaid monies to abandoned seafarers adds up to $40 million USD.
According to the International Maritime Organisation’s (IMO’s) definition, abandonment occurs when a shipowner is unable to cover the cost of a seafarer’s repatriation and fails to pay wages for at least two months, has left seafarers without maintenance and support, or otherwise severs ties with the crew. In cases of sudden abandonment, these people are left to suffer without food, water, supplies, medicine and the ability to reach shore to contact anyone. Living under these conditions can have devastating consequences, including loss of life through neglect or suicide.