Nautilus is urging the multi-millionaire owner of one of the world’s largest private yachts to urgently pay more than US$1m of wages owed to crew members following a court hearing this week.
A civil court in Malta ordered Vijay Mallya, owner of the 95m vessel Indian Empress, to pay more than €650,000 owed to a local marine services company for fuel supplied to the Isle of Man-flagged superyacht.
The court upheld the claim, ordering the settlement of the €651,399.77 bill with accrued interest until effective payment.
The yacht has been abandoned in Malta since September last year and Nautilus has had the vessel arrested as part of its efforts to recover unpaid wages for 24 members. The Union has already secured more than $615,000 under the ‘safety net’ provisions of the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC), but is seeking to enforce a maritime lien for the payment of outstanding wages and other costs over and above those covered by the MLC.
The Indian government is seeking the extradition of Mr Mallya – whose business interests have spanned Kingfisher beer, Kingfisher Airlines and the Force India Formula One team – after he fled to the UK in March amid allegation of debts totalling more than €1bn.
Nautilus strategic organiser Danny McGowan said:
“It’s disappointing to see that despite being presented with facts about his debts, the owner is facing formal court action to force him to pay what is owed.
“Unfortunately, his failure to pay crew properly isn’t reserved only for the vessel in Malta, either. Another of his vessels, the motor yacht Force India - currently based in Southampton - still owes a number of Nautilus members outstanding sums for their hard work on board the vessel. Force India is significantly smaller than the Indian Empress, but the impact on the hard-working seafarers is the same, with many relying on support from family members to be able to pay their own bills.
“Nautilus calls on Mr Mallya to resolve the situation speedily for his loyal crews on board Indian Empress and Force India by paying them their outstanding wages - without waiting for the courts to order the settlement,” he added.
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