In the First Nine Months of 2016 Seafarers in the Far East Have Been Paid Over $1 Million of Back Wages

The Far Eastern Territorial  Organization of the Seafarers' Union of Russia (DVRO SUR) has summarized the results of its activity for the first nine months of 2016. More than $1 million was returned to the seafarers  and their families with the assistance of the SUR. The most high-profile cases during this period involved  ships "Tessa", "ST Wind", "Iman", "Port  May", "Antoine" and "Tomini Victory", which unscrupulous shipowners  finally  paid off with the crews, however, after the intervention of supervisory authorities, arrests of ships and strikes.

Unfortunately, several tragic accidents took place. In February, two fishing boats sank in the Okhotsk Sea: the Nort and the Adex - both Cambodia flagged, with Russian crews on board. Just on board the trawler Adex were 16 Russian seafarers. Until now, their fate is unknown.

The Chairman of DVRO SUR Nikolay Sukhanov specially highlighted the vigorous efforts of port inspectors and  transport prosecutor's officers. During vessel inspections in the Russian Far East ports the abovesaid state authorities always pay attention to the regular payment of wages to seafarers on board. If any delays are found out, the vessels are detained until the crews are fully paid of their wages. Such cases occurred in the ports of Nevelsk and Nakhodka on board such ships as  ST Wind, Antoine and Tomini Victory. The Syrian seafarers from the vessel "Antoine" received their hard earned money only after three members of the crew go on a strike in the port of Nakhodka. The Ukrainian  chief engineer of the m/v Tomini Victory Sergey Budanov even refused to go on a voyage without receiving delayed wages in the amount of $19000US.

The Union Inspectors don't forget about Russian vessels either.  So, during one visit of a ship  under the Russian flag, seafarers conveyed to the delegates of the upcoming VIII SUR Congress the wishes to secure the fulfillment  by the Government of the Russian Federation of the requirements of Maritime Labour Convention (MLC-2006)  and bringing the national legislation into compliance with the international requirements. Currently, Russian seafarers, holding the contracts, can't even say how much they earn a month. It should be specified not only the minimum basic wage, which is currently set by the International Labor Organization at $614 for the able seaman, but also overtime rates and  other allowances in accordance with labor legislation.

DVRO SUR took part in the 33rd Summit of maritime unions of Asia-Pacific region countries on the 21st of June in Manila. The main outcome of the summit was the approval of the amendment to the MLC-2006. In accordance with this amendment, which will enter into force on 18 January 2017, all shipowners will have to ensure the compliance with the obligations in relation to  repatriation and payment of compensations to seafarers suffered in accidents. Vessels flying the national flag will be required to carry on board a certificate justifying financial security of these obligations: an insurance, or a state social insurance or a bank guarantee. States that have ratified the MLC-2006 will require the fulfillment of this requirement.