Dubai-based Prime Tankers had not paid an inadequately provisioned crew on one of its vessels for two months at the time a seafarer took his own life late last month, an official at the International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF) told TradeWinds.

Separately, questions have arisen about whether the 4,600-dwt Sea Princess (built 1993) is under any flag state’s legal jurisdiction, and what — if any — legal protections a crew has on a flagless ship.

UK-based charity organisation Human Rights at Sea (HRAS) said the Sea Princess had previously been deregistered by the Cook Islands.