Vastavam web: A super luxury yacht owned by embattled liquor tycoon Vijay Mallya has been seized by authorities in Malta over unpaid wages amounting to USD 1 million to its crew, including some Indians, according to an international traders union.Nautilus International said the 95-metre vessel named ‘Indian Empress’ was “arrested” to recover over USD 330,000 unpaid wages and other costs on behalf of its members.
“Our members onboard gave their employer and the shipowner multiple opportunities to pay monthly wages, displaying a loyalty and restraint greater than many would show in such situations. These opportunities were regularly ignored by the owner, leaving us with no option but to take the case to the courts,” said Nautilus International strategic organiser Danny McGowan.The union said it had been successful in securing a “milestone” payment for crew members via the insurers using a safety net provision in the international Maritime Labour Convention (MLC).”The superyacht sector is seen as one of glamour and glitz, but the sad reality is that crew members can experience exploitation and abuse and that is why Nautilus has become increasingly involved in such justice cases,” said Charles Boyle, Nautilus International’s director of legal services.
He said that the union’s success in enforcing the financial security provisions of the MLC for the first time in the superyacht industry marked a significant development for the sector.In line with the “safety net” financial security provisions of the convention, the union ensured the initial payments for the crew by the Norwegian protection and indemnity insurance specialists Skuld last week, he said.The luxury vessel can accommodate up to 12 guests across 17 cabins and boasts an entire deck dedicated to the master suite that includes a gym, sauna and steam room.
Most of the 62-year-old businessman’s international assets remain frozen or under litigation, with a UK high court order last month allowing him an increase in his “ordinary living expenses allowance” to a maximum of 18,325.31 pounds a week.The businessman remains on a 650,000-pound bail bond, extended until April 2 at the last hearing in the trial in January.