The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) has announced that it is aiding the repatriation of seafarers who are on six vessels of Global Cruise Lines.

The ships are currently docked at Tilbury and Bristol in the UK.

The Global Cruise Lines and ITF came to an agreement to ensure that the crew is repatriated in the next few days.

Last month, the UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) announced that it has detained five ships over crew welfare concerns.

Astoria, Astor, Colombus and Vasco de Gama ships are at Tillbury, while Marco Polo is docked at Bristol.

The crew was stuck on the ships due to the ongoing global Covid-19 pandemic, which resulted in travel restrictions to limit the spread of the virus.

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The MCA surveyors discovered many Seafarers Employment Agreements that were expired and invalid, late payment of wages and crew members who were onboard for over 12 months.

The sixth ship Magellan was not detained as significant deficiencies were not found.

Global Cruise Lines CEO Christian Verhounig said: “We appreciate the good relations we have with the ITF and the support they are providing in these difficult times. Their involvement has greatly assisted us in speeding up the repatriation of all our valued crew members.”

ITF general secretary Stephen Cotton added: “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.”

“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.”