Eliza Ader, co-founder of UK-based Periplous, a general-purpose open source research and mapping blog that has been tracking crew abandonment closely in recent months, has told Splash that 11 new cases of abandonment had been recorded in the opening weeks of 2021.
Iran, Yemen and the UAE led the locations of recent abandonment cases.
On the plus side, some long-standing cases have been resolved in the past week.
A nine-day hunger strike on a Palmali Shipping tanker moored in Beirut brought results. The crew were flown home last week and were offered $114,000 to cover some of their lost wages, although this was less than 40% of what the crew said that they were owed.
Palmali was one of the largest carriers in the Volga-Don basin and the Caspian region, but was declared bankrupt in 2018. In March 2020 Palmali’s founder Mubariz Mansimov Gurbanoglu was arrested in Turkey and was accused of being involved in the attempted coup to topple Turkish President Erdogan in 2016. Many of his ships remained abandoned at ports across the Mediterranean. An estimated 150 crew are owed backpay.