Japanese shipowner, saving on crew, received a notice

Sunroad Yatsuka, berthed at the Commercial Sea Port of Nakhodka for coal loading, was checked  by the Far Eastern Regional Organization of the Seafarers' Union of Russia (SUR FERO). The vessel hasn't a collective agreement and the AB base rate is under $614, ILO-recommended minimum  level.

Panama-flagged Sunroad Yatsuka (built 2005, IMO 9317274) is owned and operated by Hiroshima-based Polar Star Line SA and Kyowa Sansho KK respectively. 19-person crew consists of the Japanese master and18 Filipinos. The vessel came from China for coal loading. Its next port of call is Kochi, Japan.

However, the vessel is under Panama flag of convenience and there is no collective agreement. The AB base rate is $550 and this rate is under the  minimum wage level recommended by the International Labour Organization. The Japanese shipowner employs the Filipino crews because their wages are significantly lower than Japanese seafarers have.

The SUR FERO has met with Sunroad Yatsuka crew.

We explained to seafarers the reason why shipowners from the high-tax countries transfer their ships under flag of convenience (FoC) which is called tax haven. The reason is that there aren't taxes, but if taxes exist their rates  are very low in open registry countries, like Panama. To attract companies the flags of convenience use more favourable terms than national flags have. The FoCs exempt shipowners  from their own legislation. The International Transport Workers' Federation declares the war on flags of convenience for that reason. An owner employs  the cheapest as possible labour on FoC ships. Crews receive the minimum wages and an owner cuts the cost through deterioration of  seafarers' living conditions,  said Nikolai Sukhanov, the SUR FERO's chairman.

In accordance with MLC, 2006 the ship's master (72) passed to the union's reps the insurance certificates. The sums of insurance cover weren't  indicated in the certificates or individual contracts. The  crew didn't  know  the amount  of  insurance  cover. The union's officials advised seafarers that this sum should  be necessarily included in the ITF agreement. After the meeting with the SUR FERO inspectors, the crew has voiced the wish to require from the shipowner to sign a collective agreement with the Japan Seamen' Union. The Russian union sent a relevant notice.

Before leaving the SUR FERO officials passed the Russian and Japanese publications on ITF and SUR activities to seafarers and invited them to visit the Nakhodka International Marine Club where they can rest from their working life.