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Saturday 22nd
posted by Zoe Streatfield in Britain

Seafarers aim to throw ships of shame bosses overboard

SEAFARERS protested in Aberdeen yesterday against “disgraceful” poverty pay in the shipping industry, where some are paid as little as £2.56 an hour.

Maritime union RMT laid bare the crippling low pay of those working in Scottish waters aboard Streamline Shipping’s cargo ship the MV Daroja.

The union warned that shareholders at Streamline are pocketing millions of pounds in dividends while migrant workers are “mercilessly exploited” and local seafarers “excluded from work” on a route between Scottish ports.

Streamline has also received over £3 million from the Scottish taxpayer between 2008 and 2014.

The Cyprus-flagged ship operates between Aberdeen, Orkney and Shetland.

Foreign-flagged ships such as the MV Daroja are often registered in one country but owned in another, allowing profiteering companies to pay crews recruited overseas less than the minimum wage without breaking the law.

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “Poverty pay on Streamline Shipping’s MV Daroja is a disgrace,” adding that RMT would continue to put the “ships of shame under the spotlight.”

He continued: “Only a nationalised Northern Isles ferry service can meet the needs of local communities and the seafarers that serve them.”

Mr Cash urged the Scottish government to take action, as it did on the Seatruck vessels earlier this year, where it has been agreed that workers will receive at least the national minimum wage.

RMT said the Scottish and British governments should stamp out Streamline’s exploitation of seafarers and the taxpayer by enforcing national minimum wage legislation and requiring Streamline to comply with work permit rules.

The union also wants a review of the Daroja’s safety record, as the ship was detained last Christmas due to a number of onboard safety deficiencies and was involved in a serious collision in 2015.

A Scottish government spokesman said: “Streamline Shipping is a commercial operator and the Scottish government’s contract with the company ended in 2014.

“We have raised the issue of mariners’ pay with the UK government on numerous occasions in the past and recently took action to address similar issues on the Scottish government’s freight contract with Seatruck.

“We will continue to press the UK government to take action to improve this situation.”