Seafarers employed on Tsakos-owned vessels operated under its management arrangement with Columbia Shipmanagement will now be paid electronically as opposed to by ‘Cash-by-Master’, under an agreement signed with global maritime payments provider ShipMoney.
The deal means crewmembers will have complete control and access to their wages while onboard ship, including the timing and currency of remittances sent home. It will also dramatically reduce the need for large amounts of cash to be delivered to ships and eliminate the need for Tsakos to administer individual crew wire payments sent to home bank accounts.
The latest contract with the Greece-based shipmanagement company will see ShipMoney’s products being rolled out to its fleet of 90 vessels consisting of tanker, container and dry cargo ships, following a successful trial.
Welcoming the arrangement, Harry Katsipoulakis, CFO of Tsakos Columbia Shipmanagement said: “Our crew is the most important asset we have in our company. By introducing ShipMoney, we’ve been able to streamline the onboard crew payment process across the fleet by enhancing the safety in money transfer, reducing costs, saving time and providing a new benefit to our valued crewmembers and their families”
Stuart Ostrow (pictured), President of ShipMoney, said: “We are very excited to be working with Tsakos Columbia Shipmanagement and to be able to introduce our electronic payment programme to its crew worldwide. One of the important benefits to the deal relates to foreign exchange, which is often a hidden cost for crew. The majority of today’s crew are contracted and paid in US Dollars and most employers remit individual US dollar wire payments to individual seafarer bank accounts. If the seafarer’s home bank account is not denominated in Dollars, then the receiving bank has complete control over the conversion from US Dollars to the currency of the crew member’s account.
“A 2017 World Bank study identified that banks are the most expensive option when converting currency with an average cost of approximately 11%. Mobile Money offered the least expensive option at less than 4%. Over the life of a crew member’s career, this differential could be substantial. ShipMoney is truly a win-win for both Tsakos and its crew members,” he added.