The right of seafaring under Russian flag will be granted to everyone

Today, January 30, the Amendments to the Merchant Shipping Code  of the Russian Federation (MSC),  in part of the Russian Open Register of Ships (RORS) establishment,  came into force.  According to amendments a right of sailing  under the State  Flag of the Russian Federation shall be granted to the  ships registered in the Russian Open Register of Ships and owned by foreign citizens,  foreign legal entities and legal entities registered in accordance with the Federal Law on International Companies.

The RORS-registered  ships can be owned by the  citizens and legal entities (including  foreign citizens  and foreign legal entities) of the  Russian Federation, subjects  of the  Russian Federation and municipal entities. The ships owned by  foreign citizens or ships  owned by  foreign legal entities should  be registered in the  Russian Open Register of Ships if under a bareboat agreement the ship charterer is an legal entity registered within the Federal Law on International Companies. 

The ships will be registered in the Russian Open Register  only  in the  Seaports  of  Kaliningrad and Vladivostok. A ships presence to the seaport master or bringing a ship into the  Russian Federation isn't  required.  

Also the law introduces a novella according to which the  foreign citizens and stateless persons are able to be a part of officer  crew, except  for   the ship master and chief engineer positions,  on RORS-registered ships since January 1, 2019. 

At present  only  citizens of the  Russian  Federation may hold  the  posts of a ship master,  a chief mate, a chief engineer and a radio engineer.

Entry of the law into  force  doesn't  mean that the  Register starts its work immediately.  The experts highlight that  it requires making amendments to a series of  the Russian  legislative  acts. 

The  Seafarers' Union of Russia (SUR) points out that the  registration  of foreign ships  in the  Russian Open Register of Ships is good  idea. But the  main task is to respect the  seafarers' rights  on these  ships  and to ensure that the outstaffing  against  crews is not  used. Now  the  draft of the  Federal Law on Introducing Amendments to Certain Legislative Acts  of the  Russian Federation Regarding  Regulation of Activities of Participants of  Special Administrative  Regions Serving as Employer has been submitted for  consideration but  in fact it raises a ban  on using  contracted labour against crews of the seagoing  ships and mixed ships (river-sea-going ships) registered under the RORS.

It should be reminded that the  SUR doesn't agree with this  draft law and  insists on its consideration during the meeting  of  the  Russian Trilateral  Commission. The SUR has submitted this proposal to the  Ministry of Economic Development  of  the  Russian Federation and the Russian Chamber of Shipping.