The following article was initially published in the Isle of Man Maritime Blog by Dick Welsh Director of Isle of Man Ship Registry. I realise I am a Luddite who went to Sea a long time ago, but I am concerned that the modern age of instant communication and social media may not be helping our seafarers.
The following article was initially published in SAFETY4SEA by Apostolos Belokas Managing Editor of SAFETY4SEA. In an effort to enhance fatigue management IMO has amended the “fitness for duty – hours of rest” requirements to provide watch keepers on-board ships with increased rest periods on the latest STCW Amendments in line with the ILO MLC. Despite the fact that over the last few years STCW latest amendments are in place and ILO MLC is being implemented as of 20 August 2013 a number of problems are being experienced.
Eight Ships Detained for MLC Related Deficiencies in Paris MoU During First Month of MLC Implementation
On 20 August 2013 the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC, 2006) entered into force and became a relevant instrument for the Paris MoU. During the first month 8 ships were detained for MLC-related deficiencies in areas under the jurisdiction of Paris MoU. This means that 12% of the total number of detentions (68) in the Paris MoU area in this period was MLC, 2006 related.
Following the official entry into force date of the MLC a few days ago ILO published a very interesting article about the expectations to improve the lives of seafarers. Being a seafarer was a childhood dream for Alex de La Cruz. He was raised in the southern part of the Philippines, where most of his neighbours and relatives were working as seafarers.
Today the Maritime Labour Convention, MLC 2006, officially enters into force. The MLC was established during 2006 as the Fourth pillar of the international maritime law, the other three pillars are the SOLAS, STCW and MARPOL. A lot has been written about the subject and the general “atmosphere” that has been maintained in the industry is that the convention is for the good of the seafarers and a powerful tool to help them defend their rights. In May 1, the International Workers’ Day, the Officer of the Watch blog started a poll about what our readers believe regarding the MLC by simply asking if it will improve the seafarers’ life onboard.
For some time concern has been growing about the frequency of serious accidents and the repeated appeals from seafarers in difficulty on vessels trading in the Black Sea area. Black sea trade is characterized by older, smaller ships, often trading beyond their expected economic life in circumstances that can undermine safe and secure employment practices. Since the entry into force date (20 August 2013) of the ILO Maritime Labour Convention 2006 (MLC) is getting nearer, we would like to highlight a report that has been prepared from seafarers’ unions from the Black Sea area affiliated to the International Workers’ Federation (ITF).
A usual case of the abandonment and her crew is highlighted within this post. The story took place in the UK during February 2013, less than a year before the official entry into force of the Maritime Labour Convention. Foreign seafarers were left stranded at Sussex after their shipping companies flounder on the brink of bankruptcy. Angry, confused and disillusioned crew members of various nationalities including Russian, Ukrainian and Belarusian, were living in their vessels for months on end without being paid wages and without an idea of when they can return home.
The following video is the “trailer” of a book to be published recording the memoirs of a Greek seaman. Capt. Nicholas Raissis memoirs are an ode to the simple things in life. Onboard and onshore he tells his story of achievements and failures, heroic times and moments of personal humiliation with wit and honesty. Capt. Nicholas nephew Panayotis Raissis is publishing the autobiography of Captain N.H. Raissis, a hard man who sailed the world for 40 years and lived to tell the tale. Anyone wanting to support the campaign of publishing the memoirs of Capt. Nicholas can find more information in www.indiegogo.com
In about two months from now the Maritime Labour Convention will enter into force, nevertheless even as the MLC entry into force date draws near, there are still incidents of abandoned seafarers such as the one mentioned in this post. Last April thirteen Russian seafarers stuck on a ship that has been abandoned and anchored off the coast of the Phillipines since the owner company went bankrupt have appealed to the governor of Primorye region for help in returning home.
A report, published last March, by AMEC, shows that the targets for shipping companies to reduce their sulphur emissions by 2015, could cause adverse environmental effects and result in a loss of 2,000 maritime services jobs, and place many more industrial jobs under threat. The report is the first of its kind to examine the full impact of hitting sulphur targets.