A small tanker sold last year in the unwinding of the Xihe Group fleet has been entangled in a commercial dispute that left a dozen Indian seafarers stuck on it in Sudan.

The International Transport Federation (ITF) has been listing the 9,000-dwt Ocean Hawk (built 2007) as abandoned at Suakin port in Sudan since 1 March.

Vessel tracker data suggest the ship has been there for much longer, since June last year.

According to information provided by the Ocean Hawk’s flag state and other stakeholders, the Ocean Hawk is under court arrest in Sudan over a cargo dispute.

Two of the ship’s 12 seafarers have been stuck on board for 15 months, according to the ship abandonment page of the International Labour Organisation’s (ILO) website.

Two Nepalese armed guards are also stranded with them.

The ship’s managers have taken steps recently to pay part of the wages owed to the crew and to repatriate them.

The Cook Islands flag administration informed the ILO it has received evidence that wheels have been set in motion to issue travel visas and arrange flights for the two seafarers that have been on board the longest.

The ship’s managers Glory International didn’t respond to a request for comment.

On the hook

Glory International, a company based in the United Arab Emirates, is listed as the operator of nearly 20 smaller tankers.

A ship associated with the company last made headlines last summer, when the crew of the 9,700-dwt bitumen carrier Asphalt Princess (built 1976) reportedly disabled its engine to prevent armed gunmen from taking control and diverting it to Iran.

As far as the Global Hawk is concerned, it hasn’t been with the company for very long.

Clients of Glory International picked up the ship in December 2020 in one of the dozens of ship sales from the former Xihe Group fleet. The vessel, which was known as Ocean Hawk at the time, reportedly changed hands for $3.1m.

Online shipping registers show the Shipowners’ Club as the vessel’s P&I club.

The vessel's ship register, however, informed the ILO that the ship is with EF Marine instead.

Maritime Cook Islands has warned the Singapore-based insurer that it may find itself on the hook if the crew isn’t relieved soon.

EF Marine Pte has been notified “that this administration will call on them to fulfil their obligations as financial security provider, in case the vessel's owners fail to follow through with the proposed way forward,” the ship register said in a post on the ILO’s ship abandonment website.