Nearly 200 seafarers are said to be stranded on three livestock carriers linked to the same Middle Eastern company, owed at least two months’ wages.

The vessels are the 40,035-gt Ghena (built 1984), 36,387-gt Bader III and 15,608-gt Zein I (both built 1978), according to the ship abandonment website of the International Labour Organization (ILO).

The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF), which supplied the information posted on the ILO website, has reported all three vessels as abandoned and said they are controlled by the same owning company, without identifying it.

The Bader III and Ghena are listed on the website of Arab Ship Management Ltd, based in Amman, Jordan. Equasis shows the Zein I as managed by the same company.

Arab Ship Management did not respond to an e-mail requesting comment on whether the ILO’s information is correct.

According to the postings, the Ghena has been at Montevideo anchorage in Uruguay since 15 February. Seventy Filipino crew members, three Colombians and one from Jordan are reported on board, owed two months of wages.

The same backpay is said to have accumulated for 45 seafarers on the Zein I, which has been in the Atlantic near the Canary Islands since 14 February — first at Las Palmas and then about 45 miles (72 km) south of Gran Canaria, apparently at open sea.

Vessel tracker MarineTraffic lists the ship as “not under command”.

Atlantic triangle

Up to 74 seafarers are said to be on board the Bader III, which has been reported as abandoned since 15 February at Puerto Cabello in Venezuela. According to the ITF, most crew are owed two months’ wages and a number of Pakistanis on board even six months’.

The Zein I and the Bader III used to be covered by the West of England.

The P&I Club, however, informed the ITF in February that this was no longer the case and that the two ships’ Maritime Labour Convention certificates were cancelled at the end of last November.

Some of Arab Ship Management’s vessels have a history of paying crews late.

In 2018, Australian authorities detained another of the company’s livestock carriers and its crew in a dispute over unpaid wages.

In May 2021, the ITF reported the Ghena and the Bader III as abandoned. Both cases were resolved by July and 148 seafarers on the two vessels received their wages in full.

As the Zein I, Bader III and Ghena are now reported abandoned again, the ITF made no mention of animals being on board.

The livestock carrier trade is often criticised for poor hygiene and cruel transport when carrying animals between continents.

The Bader III has been singled out, with RSPCA South Australia describing it four years ago as a record holder of “sheep death on board”.

According to the animal welfare group, the Bader III was one of three live export vessels to pack animals into two levels of pens on each deck — a design said to make welfare checks “difficult if not impossible” during long sea crossings.