A magistrates' court has found a director of a crewing agent operating in the UK guilty of withholding approximately £21,000 in pay from four seafarers.
The court in Liverpool ordered Susan Myers, who is also known as Susan Leech, a director of Relay Marine UK Limited, to pay fines and costs totalling £3,015. Myers, who admitted the offences, was prosecuted by the Employment Agency Standards Inspectorate following an investigation into claims of non-payment of wages.
One seafarer who failed to receive the pay he was due said: “The vast majority of crewing agencies are really great folks to work with, but seafarers must be cogent, that, as in other industries which are perhaps better highlighted, there are those who are less scrupulous or downright dishonest.
“Employees in shipping are particularly vulnerable due to the international aspects of the industry with offshore contracts etc.”
Relay Marine UK Limited has now gone into liquidation.
“Outfits like this cause nothing but misery for the seafarers they cheat”, commented Nautilus/ITF inspector for Liverpool and north west UK ports Tommy Molloy.
“We are used to hearing of such agents operating outside of good practice and in some cases outside of the law in some other countries but this case shows that they can just as easily be operating in the UK. We had hoped that a successful employment tribunal and prosecution by the UK authorities might have put paid to this person’s involvement in the maritime sector but we are informed that she has set up a “recruitment programme” in Bulgaria.”
Information about the company - Marine-Alliance - has been passed to colleagues in Bulgaria so that members can be alerted. It has also been reported that another company thought to be headed up by Myers, Sue Leech Marine Services, still operates in the UK.