Specialist marine insurance intermediary Seacurus says that reported doubts about the insurance industry’s ability to insure the liability for unpaid wages of abandoned seafarers under the Maritime Labour Convention 2006 are inaccurate and ill-founded.
It is already an agreed principle under MLC 2006, which came into force in August 2013, that liability for the unpaid wages of seafarers currently falls to the recruitment and placement services which help seafarers find employment at sea. Some have rightly argued that this is a misdirected arrow and that it is the owner/employer, and not the agent, that should assume this liability.
In a positive move, it is now understood that tripartite talks between owners, unions and governments scheduled for April 2014 at the ILO headquarters in Geneva will finally address this issue, with talks set to concentrate on the specific inclusion of unpaid crew wages in the owner’s MLC obligation to repatriate crew in cases of abandonment.
Thomas Brown, managing director of Seacurus, says, “Effective employment protection must include crew wages.”
It has been suggested by some industry commentators that insurance to cover unpaid wages would be unfeasibly expensive for owners, and that in any case it is only those owners who are likely to default who will need the cover.
The CrewSEACURE policy launched earlier this year by Seacurus provides comprehensive cover at low cost, with premiums of as little as $50 per seafarer per year available today.
Brown adds, “If you cannot pay your crew, you should not put your ship to sea, it’s that simple. Any arguments to the contrary would serve to do our industry a disservice.”
Seacurus Ltd is an FCA-regulated insurance broker, founded in 2004, specialising in bespoke revenue protection cover for the maritime industry. It is a market leader in the design and implementation of solutions to protect companies from unforecasted balance-sheet impacts, including credit default, charter party cancellations, hijackings and voyage disruptions caused by political events.
Seacurus established the first delegated underwriting binding authority for marine kidnap insurance and is an approved Lloyd’s Coverholder.