The Triton

Editor's Pick

Crew’s own records vital in getting paid after yacht arrest

ADVERTISEMENT

By Dorie Cox

When a yacht gets seized – arrested – for financial reasons, the subsequent jockeying for restitution often leaves yacht crew pay low on the list.

Such was the case with M/Y Lady Sara. The owner of the 187-foot Trinity, formerly Lady Linda, defaulted on a loan and U.S. Marshal officers arrested the boat last fall. Several of the crew hired the maritime law firm of Moore & Company in Miami for help to recoup unpaid benefits and wages, according to Michael Moore, founding partner.

In the process of foreclosing the boat’s mortgage, crew and vendor debt are often not viewed as important as bank debt, Moore said. Beyond that, verifying the crew’s work history and information was another challenge because some of the crew had been remiss in documenting their time on board, he said.

Fortunately for the crew members, the captain’s log books and notes may have helped to recoup thousands of dollars of salary and benefits.

“They were short of records,” he said. “But for the good record-keeping of the captain, they would have had nothing. Many crew couldn’t even find their employment agreements.”

Participants and details of the legal proceedings were not shared with The Triton, but Moore pointed out that proof, especially contracts or Seafarers’ Employment Agreements (SEA), were key to getting crew their owed wages. Documentation such as calendars, duties, and crew history of their work on board are vital in legal proceedings. Compiling such information does not need to be daunting.

“Every crew should maintain a personal daily log,” Moore said. “Just put it together with an iPhone.”

In the case of M/Y Lady Sara, information was compiled for several of the crew to get their compensation after the arrest, even though some of the contracts did not have end or commencement dates, Moore said. Some of the legal complexity hinged on whether the vessel was sold before the end of crew agreements.

“If benefits are triggered by dates, it follows that you should make sure they are filled in,” Moore said. “In our case, severance was not detailed, but there was an addendum. Crew were terminated before the event occurred, which gave right to severance.”

Basically, any legal success in such situations comes down to having a Seafarers’ Employment Agreement.

“If crew don’t have an SEA, well, they would be well advised to have one,” Moore said. “Otherwise, they fall under the law of the flag state.”

There are 32 open registries that yachts use and every one has different laws, he said. Most yacht registries protect seamen with respect to crew holiday leave pay, penalty wages, and ordinary wages due – but with additional benefits such as severance, there can be challenges.

Seaman should read their employment agreements closely, Moore said.

“It’s a contract, and it defines their relationship to the vessel,” he said. “As with all contracts, crew need to read and decide, ‘Does this make sense for how long I plan to be on this yacht?’ Read your contract for your life and your reality. Understand your rights so you can confirm your rights. Learn to keep good records.”

Dorie Cox is editor of The Triton. Comments are welcome below.

Related Posts...
Young Professionals in Yachting raised more than $5,000 for the Read more...
M/Y Lady D, a 185-foot yacht built by Quality Shipyards, Read more...
The Paris and Tokyo MoUs on port state control will Read more...
By Dorie Cox Capts. Brian and Sue Mitchell looked up Read more...
Marine Highway Routes are navigable waterways that provide better options Read more...

Share This Post

About Dorie Cox

Dorie Cox is editor of The Triton.

View all posts by Dorie Cox →

One thought on “Crew’s own records vital in getting paid after yacht arrest

  1. Tim Fletcher

    We are more than happy for crew to use our app, workrest to help keep a personal daily log and hopefully help if a situation like this arises (free of charge for the crew member).
    Download the app from where you get your apps from, or visit workrest.co

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Please answer the question below to leave a comment. * Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Editor’s Picks

Crew Compass: Working for liveaboards a seismic shift from charter life

Crew Compass: Working for liveaboards a seismic shift from charter life

Crew Compass: by Lauren Loudon People always ask me what it’s like to work on yachts? You must have some good stories, they say. …

Port state CIC inspections this fall to focus on emergency systems

Port state CIC inspections this fall to focus on emergency systems

The Paris and Tokyo MoUs on port state control will conduct a Concentrated Inspection Campaign (CIC) on vessel emergency systems and …

Yacht Moatize hits dock in Cairns

Yacht Moatize hits dock in Cairns

By Dorie Cox Capts. Brian and Sue Mitchell looked up from their dinner at a marina restaurant in Cairns in Queensland, Australia, to …

Deeper water to allow for larger yachts at Fort Lauderdale marina

Deeper water to allow for larger yachts at Fort Lauderdale marina

Photos and story by Dorie Cox Scoop by scoop, an excavator on a floating barge dug from the Intracoastal Waterway bed at Sunrise Harbor …