Among the widespread bans and restrictions that could not but affect the work of the Seafarers Unionof Russa, the represantatives of the Kaliningrad regional organization of the SUR not only does not slow down its work, answering numerous questions from crew members and solving emerging problems, but also conducts routine inspections, however, less often than before. The other day, the inspectors boarded the m/v Sredni GORA (IMO 9486570, flag of Malta, built in 2010), where they were warmly welcomed by the crew consisted of of 19 seafarees from Bulgaria and Ukrainia.
The vessel, owned by the company NAVIGATION MARITIME BULGARE from Varna, is covered by the ITF collective agreement concluded with the Bulgarian seafarers union. Moreover, the agreement is respected even in the current conditions as the duration of the contracst of agreement of crewmembers do not exceed six months. There are no problems with the salary either, according to the crew everything is paid on time.The AB wage rate is 1850USD.
«The last time the crew set foot on land was only on February 17 in France and they were permitted the access to the city, – said Lyudmila Izmalkova, technical labor inspector of the KRO SUR. - However, the duration of the voyage to this port exceeded 15 days so that the conditions of quarantine were observed even at sea. There are delays in changing the crew, but no more than 1-1, 5 months. And in the near future 10 crewmembers will be replaced in Europe, the transfer is confirmed.The vessel is a frequent visitor to the port of Kaliningrad, but changing the foreign crews was an unsolvable problem even before the pandemic.
– First, because the transit of foreign seafarers from Kaliningrad to the European Union is limited becouse of shortage of flights, besides there are problems with crossing the border, - said Lyudmila Izmalkova. – Secondly, if the company plans to repatriate seafarers via Moscow, it should be taken in account that a special visa must be obtained, which even in pre-quarantine times takes an average of three to four weeks to be arranged. With a maximum berthing of a ship in the port of two or three days it causes a huge expenses so that even ill persons can not be signed off in the port. Now, in the midst of a pandemic, the problem was exacerbated.The inspectors failed to board the vessel FRIENDLAND (IMO 9246906, flag of Gibraltar, built in 2002) as the shipowner, KLIP MARINE SHIPMANAGEMENT LTD, issued an order that the captain did not allow strangers on board.
– Although such order does not applies to the labor inspectors of the ITF-affiliated trade Union, we decided not to disturb the seafarers and talked to the crewmembers next to the gangway, - said Petr Dzendzelyuk, an inspector of the KRO SUR. – In general, the ship made a good impression. It is obvious that the shipowner and crew are attentive to safety, and the mask regime is observed. There are nine crewmembers on board, three from Russia, four from Ukraine, one each from Estonia and Latvia.The vessel is covered by the a collective agreement of the Latvian seafarers union of merchant fleet. Despite the fact that some crewmembers have not set foot on solid ground for more than 1,5 months, they have no complaints, and the overall atmosphere is cheerful and optimistic. The seafarers receive their salaries on time and provided with everything necessary.
– Crew changes are orginized as planned, without delay, – said Petr Dzendzelyuk . - Estonian seafarers are changed in Estonia, Latvian-in Latvia. And today, the Ch. Engineer went home to Saint Petersburg from the Kaliningrad port. The seafarers were presented with magazines, calendars and t-shirts, which were really appreciated.