The Philippines Overseas Employment Administration has suspended the license of Able Maritime Agency, who recruited a group of around 20 Filipino seafarers now stranded in Fiji amid claims of human trafficking against Goundar Shipping. The manning agency was failed to monitor the well-being of the seafarers, and this led to the disciplinary suspension, disallowing the company from hiring and recruiting seafarers.
Deployed in February 2020 to work on Goundar's fleet, they had contracts for a maximum of 12 months, and the Government of the Philippines is working with government officials in the department of Foreign Affairs to immediately repatriate the seafarers.
Meanwhile, the union representing workers of BC Ferries in Canada are urging their employer to sever ties with Goundar Shipping over allegations the Fijian employer had violated the human rights of its foreign seafarers, and investigations by the International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF) had uncovered claims of "widespread abuse, underpayment, unsafe conditions, and even of human trafficking and slavery".
ITF states the Filipino workers were promised decent wages and conditions, but once in Fiji, they were told they would earn 60-70 percent less than what they had agreed to before they left the Philippines.
Goundar Shipping has not responded to a request for comment.