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ITF recovers nearly $120 million in unpaid seafarer wages over 3 years

Photo: ITF An ITF inspector watches carefully as a ship's master counts out unpaid wages owed to crew. Most seafarers are paid in US dollars and in cash onboard - Credit ITF[81].jpg
The International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) recovered some $36 million in unpaid wages to seafarers in 2022, a figure very similar to the previous year.

Publishing figures on World Maritime Day the ITF said it had recovered $118.5 million in wages to seafarers, who either not paid at all, or unpaid, in the three years between 2020 – 2022.

Some $36 million was paid back to seafarers in 2022, just slight lower than the $37 million recovered in 2021. The cases of unpaid wages were uncovered by ITF inspectors operating in 111 ports in 56 countries.

“While we are proud that our inspectors have been successful in recovering almost $120 million for seafarers in the last three years, it’s unfortunate that we need to address wage underpayments at all. We would prefer to see all seafarers paid in full, and paid on time in the first place,” said David Heindel, ITF Seafarers’ Section Chair and President of the Seafarers International Union. 

“For some seafarers, a shipowner might miss a pay date here or there, but others can go months without receiving their salaries. ITF inspectors, supported by our seafarer and docker union affiliates, are here to help crew stand up for their rights wherever they find themselves in need of support.” 

There were some 2,199 breach of contract cases reported by seafarers to the ITF in 2022 with non-payment of wages the top reason for reports being made.

ITF President and Dockers’ Section Chair, Paddy Crumlin said: “It's another stark reminder of the underbelly of our industry, and also that more ITF inspections taking place is good news for seafarers and their rights.”