Employees of wellboat giant Sølvtrans take company to court over missing payments

Editorial staff

The error may have been persisting since 2006.

Welboat giant Sølvtrans faces legal action from the Norwegian Seamen’s Association, the Norwegian Maritime Officers’ Association, and the international union, Machinistsforbundet on behalf of their members, over allegations of missing pension payments.

Captain Frank Langø, a veteran employee of Sølvtrans since 2003, expressed his shock at the revelations. “There may be many millions that have not been paid to the employees. For me, it could be several thousand less paid out per month when I retire,” Langø told Norwegian online newspaper FriFagbevegelse.

At the heart of the issue is the alleged discrepancy in pension calculations. Seafarers argue that while the Shipping Association’s pension scheme accounts for fixed supplements, Sølvtrans has neglected them, resulting in significant differences in final payouts.

“There’s clear evidence that Sølvtrans’ supplementary pension scheme doesn’t comply with the requirements of the OTP Act,” said Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions (LO) lawyer Imran Haider.

The error may have been persisting since 2006. Asgeir Olsen Fosnavåg, a former Sølvtrans sailor, noted that he had been underpaid by approximately NOK 65,000 ($6,000) over ten years, and he believes several hundred seafarers might have faced similar discrepancies.

From 2003, when Sølvtrans operated just four to five boats, the company has expanded its fleet to over 30 vessels, employing hundreds. Fosnavåg credits the seafarers for this growth, claiming it’s a “betrayal” if the company intentionally underpaid pensions.

However, Sølvtrans Rederi counters the claims, asserting their compliance with legal requirements. “Our pension scheme has always met the minimum standards of the OTP Act,” they defended. Their attorney, Tron Dalheim, emphasized the rigorous checks conducted since the OTP Act’s 2006 introduction, especially related to compulsory occupational pensions.

While the lawsuit progresses, the broader implication for the maritime industry remains to be seen.


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