Seafarers from bulker Ula return home after two years

The 19 crewmembers still on abandoned bulk carrier Ula (IMO 8102414) will be going home this week, according to the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF). The crewmembers had been on the vessel, which is in the port of Shuaiba, Kuwait, for two years.

The seafarers were left abandoned as part of a larger crew of 25 when the owner stopped paying their wages or providing food, fuel and water in 2019, the ITF said.

The hunger strike started on January 7th as part of an effort to get off the ship and to recover what the ITF said was more than $400,000 in wages owed to them.

Amid the current difficulties involving the ship and its owners, Palau decided to terminate the ship’s registration in September 2020, effectively passing the problem into the hands of the Kuwaiti authorities.

They appealed to Kuwaiti authorities to pay the crew’s owed wages and to help them get them home to their families. Kuwait was willing to help with the latter but said that recovering the seafarers’ wages would require a sale of the ship – which could take years.

Now the ITF has said that word has been received from the Kuwaiti authorities that the crew, some having been on board as long as 31 months, would finally be heading home.

1982-built, unflagged, 22,225 gt Ula is registered as owned and managed by Aswan Trading & Construction Co of Doha, Qatar.