It's a sad indictment of the shipping industry that seafarers still get abandoned by insolvent shipowners and that there's no safety net in place to prevent this from happening.
A new insurance policy, CrewSEACURE, has been developed to indemnify seafarers if the financial default of their employers occurs. Created by Seacurus, the specialist marine insurance intermediary, the CrewSEACURE project has been five years in the making and was the reason that Seacurus was founded.
It's seemingly always the seafarers that suffer, who are at the mercy of the unions and local charities of wherever they are stranded by their employers. Basic aid such as food, shelter and water are often provided by port-dwelling charities, but why should it have come to this?
The policy will enable all seafarer employers to meet regulatory obligations under the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) which comes into place in August 2013. There will be an obligation for financial security to ensure repatriation for these seafarers.
CrewSEACURE includes up to $10m of cover in the event of the employer's financial default, personal accident protection, medical expenses, and repatriation costs. It will also respond to the non-payment of wages for up to six months.
Times like this prove that even good quality shipowners can go bust. It's a disgrace to our industry that this policy even needs to be in place at all – but we're lucky that it now is.