Research operation Periplous, run by brother-and-sister team Matthew and Eliza Ader, has created an interactive map of seafarer abandonments, which shows that cases of crew abandonment are once again on the increase.
After a spike in abandonments in 2017 there had been a slight easing of the problem, but the number of incidents is now rising again.
The Periplous map shows every abandoned case around the world, as tracked by the official International Labour Organisation database, supplemented by cases that have been reported in the media.
The Aders have created a spreadsheet, dataset, and interactive map detailing active seafarer abandonment cases.
The map shows that the hotspots for crew abandonment at the moment include Sharjah, Istanbul, and Malta.
The numbers had stayed steady at around 35 since 2017, but this year already has seen 45 active cases as tracked by the ILO, plus another four reported elsewhere, added to the Ader database. More worryingly, nearly half of these cases were added to the Periplous database in the past month and a half. They include seven tankers belonging to Palmali Shipping, a Turkish-Azerbaijani company registered in Malta, whose CEO and founder was arrested in March for connections to the 2016 Turkish coup attempt.
Matthew Ader said that “seafarer abandonment is a grievous violation of worker’s rights compounded by a lack of attention and what appears to be a level of institutional acceptance by certain actors”.
The UAE remains the leading location for abandoned ships, led by Sharjah. According to Periplous data the UAE accounts for 12% of the global total. Indian seafarers have suffered the greatest number of abandonment cases, followed by Ukrainians.