SUR FERO: M/V Panamax Universe can fall under protest actions

Today the  inspectors of the  SUR FERO  have visited Panama-flagged Panamax Universe (IMO 9609275) which was under coal loading  at the  Port of  Vostochny. 

Nikolai Sukhanov, who is the  chairman at the Far Eastern Regional Organization of  the  Seafarers' Union of  Russia (SUR FERO),  said  the  19-person crew consists  of  four seafarers from Bangladesh and others are from China. Having familiarize with  the ship's  documents,  it was clear that  the  M/V Panamax Universe  hadn't  an ITF collective  agreement. Agreement-free situation speaks volumes about  the  seafarers' wages: AB is paid $785. On the  one  hand, this  sum  is satisfied  to  the  ILO's international minimum  standards, but  the  other  hand the  AB's rate could be twice higher if  the vessel had an ITF  collective  agreement, mentioned SUR FERO's leader. 

Among other disadvantages, which he has turned the spotlight on the  documents haven't information on insurance  sums in the event  of disability or loss of life. I want to repeat if the  shipowner had signed an agreement  with  the  union affiliated  with the International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF), nobody would  have any  insurance problems because all compensations  are always  written into the  document, Nikolai Sukhanov said. 

The working conditions  on M/V Panamax Universe was  a bright example of using of  the  flag of  convenience, or  the  flag of  Panama in this  case. The  Taiwanese  company Way-East Shipping Agency Co has a right  to save  costs  on  the  seafarers' wages, the  SUR FERO chairman pointed out. Over 50 years,  the International Transport Workers' Federation  has  been fighting  for seafarers' rights, proposing to employers  to come  into negotiations  and  sign the  ITF agreements, hereby to provide seafarers  with decent  working  conditions. Unfortunately,  only  a few  shipowners respond  to the  Federation's call and  going on  to  exploit  seafarers in humiliating conditions.

In such circumstances  the  unions  send the  notices into the  companies  offering  to discuss the terms of  a collective agreement and  sign it. The  SUR FERO has yet sent the  notice  to Way-East Shipping Agency Co. The  notice also contains the  information that in the  event  of refuse,   the M/V Panamax Universe can fall under protest actions in the  ports. In some  countries the  dockers won't  start  the cargo handling  operations when they know  that the crew isn't  covered by the ITF collective  agreement, Nikolai Sukhanov added.