WoA in the ports of the Russian Far East: preliminary results

On the last, fifth day of the WoA, the SUR team checked two more vessels in the Commercial port of Nakhodka.

1) m/v ALESSANDRA (flag of Belize, IMO 9284518). Crew of 23, all Russians from the Russian Far East. There is a valid SUR CBA, and the contracts are there, too. The vessel carries coal from Nakhodka to South Korea. Unfortunately the Master could not show us the MLC-2006 Certificate they did not have it on board. The crew had no claims. We requested the Master to solve the matter with the MLC-2006 Certificate with the Owner before leaving the port. We distributed SUR magazines and Maritime Telegraph (newsletter of the SUR Far Eastern Organization), and explained to the seafarers the SURs activities aimed at protection of seafarers rights.

2) m/v CRYSTAL JADE (flag of Panama, IMO 9680891). Built in Japan in 2013 Indonesian crew of 19. The owner is Japanese.It was sort of weird to find out that such a brand-new vessel has neither a CBA not MLC-2006 Certificate. Immediately, we called the ITF Coordinator in Japan, Bro.Fusao Ohori, and asked him to contact the Owner and discuss this matter with him, and Bro. Fusao Ohori said that he will do it before the vessel leaves Nakhodka; so we informed the Captain of the Port of Nakhodka accordingly.

All in all, during the WoA (23 - 27 June 2014) we checked 16 vessels in te ports of Vostochny and Nakhodka. We would like to mention that the average age of the vessels this time is less except the m/v EASTERN which is over 44 years old! This time, we put a special stress on checking the legal aspects of the seafarers individual contracts of employment.  The matter is that it is the beneficial owner (or a person acting on the Owners behalf under a PoA) indicated in the MLC-2006 Declaration of Compliance (Part 2) who should sign Individual Contracts of Employment. Otherwise, the seafarers Contracts should be considered void and therefore, it might be impossible to demand contractual payments in a court.

Practically on all vessels crewmembers were found insured against injuries. Catering also was found to be organized properly. Out of 15 FOC vessels, 10 were covered with ITF CBAs. As far as the other 5 vessels are concerned, we sent notices to their respective owners urging them to enter into negotiations on signing proper CBAs. On all the vessels checked, we had discussions with the crews and explained the work of the ITF and the SUR, and how and why we hold Weeks of Actions against the FOCs. Aklso, we distributed magazines and other printed matters in different languages.

During the WoA, we received quite a number of claims for unpaid wages and poor working and living conditions on a number of vessels which are now in S.Korea, China and etc. We have already submitted those claims to the ITF Inspectorates so that they could take proper steps for rectifying the situation.

We are looking forward to receiving information on the WoA in other countries so that we could get the general picture.