A file photo of the TMT ship “A Whale” which was built as an ore carrier but later converted into an oil skimmer following the Gulf Oil Spill in 2010, although it was never put into service. Photo via Wikimedia Commons.
Former Master of the abandoned Liberian-flagged oil/ore carrier ‘A Whale’ took home the Seafarer of The Year Award at the Lloyd’s List Awards held in London last night.
Captain Khan Jubair Niaz was Master of the TMT-owned ‘A Whale’ when it made international headlines earlier this year after it was found out to have been abandoned for 6 months off Suez as the company battled through bankruptcy proceedings. As the complex legal case unfolded, Captain Niaz and his 20 crew were left with a lack of basic supplies including food, water, fuel and communication, not to mention pay.
Accepting the award on Captain Niaz’s behalf was Jan Webber, Director of Fundraising for Sailor’s Society charity, which had liaised with the crew throughout the ordeal and helped spread the word of their dire situation.
“I was honored to address the assembled guests at last night’s Lloyds List awards on behalf of Capt Niaz,” Webber said in an emailed statement to gCaptain. “There is no doubt that he has succeeded in raising the profile of all seafarers in abandoned situations such as the A Whale.”
A U.S. court eventually ruled in June that banks in Taiwan seeking to put pressure on TMT must allow cash to be used to pay for the costs of crewing and fueling ‘A Whale’.
Other winners at last night’s awards ceremony included Maersk Line, which took home Company of The Year Award, and Royal Bank of Scotland’s Lambros Varnavides, who picked up the Lifetime Achievement Award. A full list of winner can be found HERE.
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