The crew of a tanker bareboat chartered to Liberian-registered Ceto Shipping have arrested their ship in Singapore after claiming they have not been paid wages since the end of last December.

The 23 seafarers from Pakistan, Indonesia and the US took legal action against the 46,900-dwt product tanker Victor 1 (built 2004) in an effort to recoup the collective $187,000 say they are owed.

The case highlights how difficult it is for crews to pinpoint who should be paying the bill when ownership and control of a vessel is hidden through a network of shell companies registered in remote locations and the ship is operated by third-party managers who are often just as much in the dark when it comes to who they are dealing with.