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Insurers have abandoned our crew, claims Advanfort

Insurers have abandoned our crew, claims Advanfort
Private Maritime Security Company (PMSC) Advanfort says that its insurers have "turned a blind eye" to claims made by the crew of the Seaman Guard Ohio, as its personnel remained stranded in India.

The 35 seafarers and security professionals have been held in India since October 2013 after their ship was detained, despite the fact that all charges against 34 of the crew were quashed in July 2014.

"We understand our sailors' point and their frustration, but we can not explain why our insurers; Aon, Lodestar and Travelers have turned a blind eye to our claims, after only paying the hotel charges for a few weeks," Advanfort acting president Ahmed Farajallah told Seatrade Global, responding to our story last week.

The crew have had to find their own accommodation, since an unpaid hotel bill ran in excess of $20,000. The bill has led to legal threats against the men, evidence of which has been sent to Seatrade Global.

On the insurers, Farajallah continued: "They have put profits over people. They have denied the sailors' medical treatment and other benefits. Insurance brokerage firm AON promised that the insurers will stand by us when the time of need comes. Unfortunately, it seems that they sold bad policies with less responsive insurers."

The crew have not been paid by Advanfort since November 2013. "Advanfort has given us no support since the start," crewmember John Armstrong claimed last week. "They did pay for a lawyer to clear their name and ours, but we have not heard anything from them since 10 July 2014 when the charges were quashed."

This week foreign secretary Philip Hammond is due to raise the issue of the Seaman Guard Ohio during a visit to India.

Aon responded that it was unable to comment at the time of publishing, and Lodestar and Travelers had not yet responded to requests for comment.