The inspectors of the Far Eastern Territorial Organization of Seafarers' Union of Russia (SUR FETO) have carried out the first inspection in 2019. It was decided to send the shipowner of the vessel berthed at the port of Nakhodka for the loading of coal a notice with requirement to sign the ITF collective agreement.
The owner of m/v "Fushun" (flag of Panama, IMO 9146003, year built:1997) is the “Fu Shun Shipping Limited” (Hong Kong). The crew of the vessel consists of 23 people: 16 are the citizens of China, and 7 are from Burma. All seafarers have individual contracts of employment; there is a mandatory Declaration of Maritime Labor Compliance - Part II and Certificates of Insurance in accordance with the requirements of the Maritime Labor Convention 2006 (MLC) on board. A sailor earns $1,200 per month, a master - $6,500.
Union representatives met with the crew and told why many shipowners prefer to use flags of convenience and what hazards it poses to seafarers .
-It is cheaper to operate a vessel under
flags of convenience, in addition, such flags offer more favorable conditions in comparison with the national ones, effectively taking the shipowners out from their state's jurisdiction, - says Nikolai Sukhanov, the SUR FETO Chairman. - Such flags increase the profitability of ship operations and improve the competitiveness of the fleet, but leaves seafarers without any protection.
The state scarcely monitor the working conditions on board such vessels, therefore the only force capable to protect the interests of crews is the International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF).
The SUR FETO representatives gave booklets with information about the organization's activities in Chinese and English to the seafarers and invited them to visit the International Marine Club of Nakhodka, where a free bus will deliver them at the request of the master. At the end of the meeting, the seafarers asked the Inspectors to send the shipowner a notice requiring to sign ITF collective agreement.
The m//v “Fushun” is the first vessel which the Inspectors visited this year, since only by mid-January it was possible to complete the processing of 24 entry passes to the ports of Nakhodka and the port of Vostochny. The procedure took almost a month and included the approval of documents in the Federal Security Service and the Ministry of Internal Affairs, where they were being checked for 10 days.
-The lack of legal instruments empowering union's representatives with free access in ports still hinders the normal work of labor inspectors,” says Nikolai Sukhanov. - In order to eliminate this obstacle, it is necessary to continue the work on making appropriate amendments to Government Order No. 907-R.