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Is there a chance to return wages?

The most frequent applies to the marine lawyers are the issues concerning outstanding wages. This is the basic problem of the seafarers. And unfortunately, it’s not always possible for the seafarers to stand out their rights and return earned money.

In the present article I want to draw the seafarer’s attention to the principal issues in the argument with the ship owners.

There are only few variants for outstanding wages:

Variant N1 – outstanding wages by means of applying to the ITF/ public organizations/ lawyers. In this variant the complaints are not submitted and everything is being solved in the process of negotiating.

In 30% of cases it’s possible to solve absolutely all the issues by means of negotiating. To this end you need: contract of employment, certificate concerning debts or confirmation of non-payment of a debt, the copy of seafarer passport with the registration aboard the vessel.

Variant N2. Outstanding wages by means of court. It’s the most lengthy of all the possible variants, as much time is being spent on both: the submitting of the claim and  the trial itself. The complication of this variant is in the lawyers’ unwillingness to take on these cases because the sum of claim is as a rule insignificant. Such cases may be interesting only if the claim is submitted on behalf of the whole crew, provided that the sum of a debt is no less than 30000$. Moreover, it’s important to understand that no judge in the world will order to arrest the vessel due to the debt of 1000-2000$.

Necessary documents: contract of employment, certificate concerning the debts, copy of the seafarer passport, copy of a civil or foreign passport, judicial role if available, any actual data duly arranged.

Variant N3 – claiming directly to the P&I. In the case if the ship owner is a bankrupt or he is unable to cover his debt, in this case the part of obligations can be taken by insurance company in conformity with the MLC convention of 2006. Having this certificate, the seafarer is guaranteed to be compensated the debt for 4 months out of those worked out by the contract.

The judicial proceeding takes place during several months. In this situation the seafarer is obliged to produce the contract of employment, the certificate concerning the debts on the wages and a copy of the seafarer passport.

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