The Far Eastern Regional Organization of the Seafarers' Union of Russia (SUR FERO) helped seafarers in returning over 4,000,000 rubles as wage arrears. It is the main result of the SUR FERO in the first quarter 2019.
During this period the union's inspectors visited 30 ships under Russian and foreign flags in the ports of Nakhodka, reported Nikolai Sukhanov, the chairman of the SUR FERO. The core goal of these visits is to determine the working conditions of seafarers, find out whether a shipowner meets the Consolidated Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) and to help seafarers in case of problems.
The inspections show that the shipowners prefer such flag of convenience as Panama. At least in the first quarter the Port of Nakhodka was visited by such vessels. Among 30 ships, 17 fly the Panamanian flag, while others work under flags of Russia, Cyprus, Liberia, the Marshall Islands and Malta.
“Only eight ships have the collective agreements, approved by the International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF). If the vessels haven't had such agreement, all their owners received the SUR FERO's notices requiring to launch negotiations with marine unions affiliated with the ITF, and sign the collecting agreement. Eleven notices were addressed to the shipping companies. Most of them quickly responded and came into negotiations”, Sukhanov pointed out.
650 seafarers visited the Far Eastern port for three months. Among them were 300 Filipinos, 130 Chinese and 60 Russians. The other 160 seafarers were from Indonesia, Vietnam, Ukraine, Estonia, Romania and Burma. During the meeting the inspectors assisted seafarers to settle their unsolved problems, which primarily were concerned the wage arrears. The seafarers also were concerned with social recreation on shore. Nakhodka has all opportunities for this: there is the International Marine Club and the SUR FERO recommends all seafarers to visit it and switch off from their daily grind.
Regarding other results, the joint inspections with the Port State Control officials is becoming a good practice. Under this work we are able to react more quickly to the problems related to violations of seafarers' rights on shipboard. Another co-operation plays no less important role: the SUR FERO works with the Nakhodka Transport Prosecutor's Office and this measure allows correctly prepare the claim documents.