ITF, Global Cruise Lines reach deal on repatriating hundreds of crew members stuck at sea



The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) and Global Cruise Lines have reached an agreement today that will see crew continue to be repatriated over the coming days. 

The seafarers have been stranded on board the six Global Cruise Lines’ vessels currently in Tilbury and Bristol, in the United Kingdom because of global travel restrictions brought in to deal with the global pandemic.

The UK Maritime and Coastguard Authority (MCA) detained five ships owned by Global Cruise Lines in June over ‘serious concerns’ for the crew members’ welfare.

MCA said that its surveyors found a number of expired and invalid Seafarers Employment Agreements, late payment of wages and crews who had been on board for over 12 months.

“All these are in breach of the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) and the ships have been detained for that reason,” the authority said.

The five ships include Astoria, Astor, Columbus, Vasco de Gama, and Marco Polo. The sixth ship is the Magellan.

“The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has had an adverse effect on the maritime industry, especially the cruise industry. The ITF recognises that this company is a victim of these circumstances,” said Stephen Cotton, General Secretary of the ITF.

“The crew of the vessels are of many nationalities and we appreciate the continuing efforts of the company to arrange repatriations. We look forward to Global Cruise Lines returning to normal operations and to continuing the long-standing relationship with them.”