A union has condemned a ship owner’s plans to set sail from Aberdeen’s harbour when crew wages have not been paid.
The Ben Nevis vessel, which is currently detained over the unpaid wages, is expected to set sail from Aberdeen harbour despite still owing workers up to £150,000.
It is understood the Malta-registered offshore supply vessel will travel from Aberdeen as early as this week while still owing crew for work carried out between June and September.
The Ben Nevis was seized by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) last Tuesday after it was discovered no wages had been paid to some staff for up to five months.
It is understood 10 of the crew have returned home while 14 remain on board.
RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “This is a disgraceful attempt by Global Offshore Services to put the Ben Nevis back to sea whilst seafarers still have unsettled wages, in breach of international maritime law. RMT is concerned for the welfare of those seafarers and their families who have gone unpaid for months.
“This is not the first instance of Indian owned and crewed vessels undermining international law in UK waters and we call upon Government and industry to look closer at those parties responsible for this abuse.
“We need cabotage laws in UK waters which build stronger national minimum standards in alliance with the Maritime Labour Convention to drive out employers in the maritime supply chain who profit from employing seafarers on terms and conditions which constitute modern slavery.”
A spokesman for the boat operator, Global Offshore Services, said: “We are not taking advantage of any regulation loophole, assuming one exists, as we have and will continue to take care of the welfare of the crew and there is no question of abandoning the vessel or its crew under any circumstances.
“The vessel will not return to service until the crew are fully paid up to date. All salaries to the crew are based on the executed agreement with ITF.
“We are confident that the entire situation will be resolved within the next few days.”