More than 4,000 people are believed to be stranded on abandoned boats in seas and oceans across the world. When companies run in to financial trouble they can leave whole crews drifting at sea with no visas, wages or supplies. Karen McVeigh and Andy Bowerman tell the story of one vessel adrift off the coast of UAE. Plus, Rupert Neate on the tax breaks attracting the super-rich to Italy
Captain Ayyappan Swaminathan set off from his home in southern India in January 2017 to work on a ship in the Persian Gulf. He told his daughter he would be back soon. But two years later he is still on board a cargo ship, the MV Azraqmoiah, after a dispute over wages. His crew claim they are owed tens of thousands of pounds and are now adrift with dwindling supplies as conditions on board worsen.
Guardian reporter Karen McVeigh, who has been following the story, tells Anushka Asthana it is far from a unique case: thousands of other seafarers have been similarly abandoned by their employers across the globe. Rev Andy Bowerman, the Middle East and south-east Asia director of Mission to Seafarers, has recently paid a visit to the MV Azrakmoiah with fresh supplies and to top up phone cards. He describes the awful conditions on the stranded vessel, just six miles off the coast of the United Arab Emirates.