Saudi Arabia's shipowner is bankrupt

Seafarers try to survive after being abandoned by a Saudi company on several Bahrain-registered vessels

The International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF) has received numerous reports of unpaid wages from individual seafarers working on eight vessels owned by Hadi H Al Hamman Establishment.

The company, which counts Saudi Aramco among its clients and purchased new vessels in 2018, has in some cases not paid seafarers for more than five months. One seafarer reported dangerously low supplies of food, water and fuel:

"I have not been paid [for 5 months] so far, and I would like to inform you that we are constantly short of food and fuel, we are suffering all the time... Please, I need your support."

The ITF fears that the problem is worsening on the company's 35 vessels and has added Hadi H Al Hamman to the Seafarers' Rights Abuse Index, a new index that lists those who deny and violate seafarers' basic human and trade union rights.

You can view the lists by clicking here and selecting the relevant country in the search:

"With so many vessels from the same company involved, it seems likely that the owners have suffered some financial difficulties," said Steve Trowesdale, ITF Inspector Coordinator.

"But it's not acceptable for managers to use seafarers' wages to cut costs. They are gambling with people's lives, not just the seafarers themselves, but their families who depend on their wages."

The ITF condemns the practice of wage restraint as a way of managing shipping finances. Trowesdale notes that under international law - the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006, as amended (MLC) - seafarers must be paid at least once a month, and crews who are two or more months in arrears or are not provided with sufficient food, water and fuel are considered abandoned, which should trigger certain actions by insurers and the ship's flag state (the country where the ship is registered).

"If you're not paying your crews, you're already bankrupt, both financially and morally," Trousdale said.

Most of the Hadi H Al Hamman Establishment's vessels are registered in Bahrain, a country that has not ratified the MLC. Although ITF inspectors informed Bahraini maritime authorities of each abandonment, no practical action was taken to hold the owners accountable.

"Bahrain is responsible for the vessels it registers, including wages, working conditions in general and crew welfare. They have the power to hold this company accountable, but they have done nothing to help," said Mohamed Arrachedi, coordinator of the ITF's FOCUS on the Arab World and Iran.

"The fact that Bahrain is one of the few countries in the world that has not ratified the MLC sends a message of disregard for workers' rights," he added. Failure to ratify the MLC means that seafarers aboard Bahraini registered ships are deprived of the basic protections contained in the convention known as the Seafarers' Bill of Rights.

The ITF has also contacted Gard, which provides financial security for these vessels. In case of abandonment, this type of insurance should pay the seafarers four months' lost wages and cover the costs of returning them home. Arrachedi explains that if Hadi H Al Hamman Establishment does not immediately fulfil its contractual obligations to the crew, ITF will try to activate the financial security covering the vessels, if any.

To avoid being abandoned by unscrupulous employment intermediaries, you can check the credentials of the ship in advance at or contact the MTWTU. You can use the MTWTU chatbot to get answers to all your questions promptly:

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