Most seafarers have no security of decent employment
According to the International Transport Workers' Federation, about 278 000 seafarers worked in 2018 on board vessels covered by ITF Collective Bargaining Agreement . In total, according to different estimates, 1.5 million crew members are employed in the maritime industry. This means that the majority of the sea workers do not have any security of decent employment. Today, representatives of the Far Eastern Territorial Organization of the Seafarers’ Union of Russia (SUR FETO) held a meeting with such seafarers in the port of Nakhodka.
The M/V "Ocean Crystal" (flag of Marshall Islands, IMO 9116905) was loading oil when Inspectors came on board. The multinational 25-strong crew includes seafarers from China, Indonesia and Myanmar.
According to SUR FETO Chairman Nikolai Sukhanov, the crew have individual contracts ùà employment, but there is no ITF Collective Agreement on board. As a result, the seafarers receive low wages although they could earn much more money. Specifically, the basic rate for the AB is $490, the captain's wage rate is unknown.
In comparison, the established by the International Labor Organization (ILO) minimum basic monthly wage for an AB for work not exceeding 48 hours per week work is $614. Then it will grow by $4 from the 1st of July, 2019 , and further, from January 1, 2020 the minimum wage rates will be increased by $7 more. Besides, the costs of catering for the crew was $7.5 per day , which is also below the level stipulated in an ITF Collective Agreement.
“We told seafarers that the ITF has been fighting against flags of convenience for over 50 years, as the organization seeks to secure proper working conditions on board ships,” - Nikolai Sukhanov explained. “After all, when a company registers its fleet under a flag of convenience, it becomes eligible to employ the cheapest crews, to pay meager wages, to cut costs by lowering the standard of living and worsening the living conditions of crew.” Besides, a flag of convenience allows to avoid responsibility, to hide funds and to launder the illegally obtained profits. The main goal of the ITF is to adopt unified standards for all seafarers, regardless of nationality, color, age, gender, religion through an ITF approved Collective.