Shipowners owe seafarers over 4 000 000 rubles

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.