The crew of M/Y Indian Empress
— now renamed Neom
— have been awarded more than $900,000 in unpaid wages after the vessel’s owner Vijay Mallya abandoned the vessel and crew of 40 in September 2017, The Guardian
reports. Since the abandonment, the 95-meter yacht was impounded in Malta on March 6
due to unpaid wages and had two court-ordered auctions to secure the funds to pay the creditors, including crew. On September 28, 2018, she was sold to Sea Beauty Yachting Limited for €35 million.
Nautilus International initially secured a total of $615,000 in owed wages for its members by using the Maritime Labor Convention, 2006 provisions. Following her sale, the union’s lawyers worked with the Maltese court to ensure crew were paid the rest of their outstanding wages as part of the process to pay all creditors who were owed money by Mallya, according to a Nautilus International press release
. Through these negotiations, another $290,426 was secured. Individual payments range between $1,300 to $55,000, averaging about $20,745.
In the press release, Danny McGowan, the union’s international organizer, says, “We are glad that we were able to help our members in this way.”
“It has been a complicated process, which was not helped by the first sale falling through,” says Charles Boyle, head of legal services at Nautilus. “However, it has demonstrated the importance of the Maritime Labour Convention’s financial security amendments, which meant that the P&I club Skuld paid up to four months’ wages owed to crewmembers earlier this year. Had those provisions not been there, the members would not have received this money at that stage and the value of the MLC is very clear.”