09.04.2019

A seafarer asked ITF and SUR FETO for help, due to fear of his signing off

The SUR FERO received an appeal from a crew member of the Cyprus-flagged, 2005-built  Ocean Crown (IMO 9317107), Nikolai Sukhanov, the chairman at the Far Eastern Regional Organization  of the  Seafarers' Union of  Russia (SUR FERO), said. The seafarer told he was threatened by signing off as he had complained about the low quality of food and drinking water, and also the low wage rates on the  ship. Sending a copy of the letter into the  International Transport Working Federation (ITF), he asked the union to take  measures and prevent  his signing off.

According to Nikolai Sukhanov, the crew of the Ocean Crown appealed originally to  the  SUR FERO, voicing their  complaints about the  labour conditions, during the  ship's berthing at the  Port of Nakhodka. The next day twenty Filipinos refused their claims and signed the  document declaring  good conditions on board, particularly that the  crew was satisfied by the quality of living conditions, catering and their wages. The ship had been berthed at the  port from 28  to 31 March. Following  the vessel left  the habour. Although one  of the seafarers sent  a letter into the  union and explained that the crew signed the  document  under the  captain's  pressure and now he was threatened by the  signing off cause his appeal to the  union. 

If a seafarer complains about working conditions, neither a captain nor  an owner has a legal right  to sign him off because the  Consolidated Maritime Labour Convention, 2006, prohibits any pursuits on this base, Nikolai Sukhanov  explained. The seafarer reported that the master and the shipowner checked all  email correspondence of each crew member and his union-addressed appeal was   intercepted by this way. It's the worst breach of international conventions. In case of his signing off, we recommended the crew member to address to the  inspector in the Chinese port, in which the  vessel was heading, and  told the  inspector a reason for the  signing off. The ITF advised him to contact with  the Cyprus flag state and inform the  administration about serious violations of the MLC. If the  reason  for  the  seafarer's sign-off  is his  complaint, the  federation and the flag administration will interfere in the situation and take  measures against the shipowner. The ITF asked the  seafarer to pass all required correspondence, including the master's orders on his signing off, a copy of his complaint  and  other documents. 

The Greek-based OCEANPRECIUS SHIPPING LTD and GLOBAL CARRIERS LTD are the ship's  owner and  the  operator, respectively. Nikolai Sukhanov said Ocean Crown is in China now. The ITF and the  SUR FERO watch the  situation  and keep in touch with the seafarer  through the  email. Now he is part of  the  crew. The SUR FERO's chairman says the captain doesn't dare  to sign him off, because the MLC breaches can  lead to serious consequences for  the  vessel and its owner. 

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