Vietnamese and Chinese crew members earn less than they might

Today,  the Inspectors of the Far Eastern Territorial Organization of the Seafarers  Union of Russia  visited the M/V Haven Messenger (Panama flag, IMO 9132868) berthed for a coal  loading coal at port of Nakhodka. The vessel does not have an International Transport Workers' Federation  Collective Agreement, so the Vietnamese and Chinese crew members earn less than they could.

The owner of the vessel is Dong Tai Shipping Co Ltd-CHT from Taiwan, the operator and employer, which pays the seafarers wages and is financially responsible, is the Taiwanese Fu Feng Marine Services Co Ltd,   Nikolai Sukhanov, Chairman of the SUR FETO, said. Crew members have individual contracts of employment. The salary for the AB seaman is $1,562, and that for the captain is $6,889. Daily food allowance per  each crew member is $8. 

Nikolai Sukhanov noted that the Vietnamese captain warmly  greeted the representatives of the trade union and invited them to his cabin, where he showed to the SUR FETO Inspectors all the documents they asked.  Besides, the captain said that he is a member of the Vietnamese Seafarers' Union and knows about the activity of the International Transport Workers' Federation.

A little later the ship's crew gathered together in the mess-room, and we had some time to tell the seafarers about the fight against flags of convenience the ITF and national maritime trade unions lead, -  Nikolai Sukhanov added.

The crew learned that the m/v Haven Messenger is operating under the FOC of Panama. The ITF is convinced that such vessels must be covered with  a collective agreement.

- In the case of Haven Messenger, the Taiwanese shipowner chose the flag of Panama purposely and employed a Vietnamese crew   such  combination makes it possible to save on the seafarers wages, -  SUR FETO Chairman explained. - We informed the seafarers that if there had been an ITF-approved  collective agreement on board, the AB Seaman wage would be more than $1,800, and the life of each crew member would be insured for more than $110,000.

Nikolai Sukhanov highlighted that the flag of convenience system is dangerous because it allows to escape the jurisdiction of national states and to conceal the link between the beneficiary shipowner and the flag country.

Before leaving, the SUR representatives handed over to the crew of M/V Haven Messenger  books on the rights of seafarers working on ships under flags of convenience,  magazines Maritime Union Herald in English and SUR calendars for 2022 . The Inspectors answered numerous questions from the crew  regarding recreation facilities in the port of Nakhodka and explained how to visit the International Maritime Club.

At the request of the crew we sent to the shipowner a notice demanding the conclusion of a collective agreement  with the trade union, an ITF affiliate, Nikolai Sukhanov resumed. - The crew took an active part in the action against flag of convenience action we organized on board  the Haven Messenger.