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SEAFARERS' UNION OF RUSSIA (AFFILIATED WITH ITF)
A NON-UNIONIZED SEAFARER
IS AN UNPROTECTED SEAFARER
Inspectors of the Far Eastern Territorial Organization of the Seafarers' Union of Russia (FETO SUR) visited the tanker "Carl" (flag of Liberia, IMO 9288851) at the port of Nakhodka. The vessel was being loaded a fuel oil destined to Chinese ports. The captain showed the representatives of the trade union the collective agreement signed by the crewing agency and the shipowner. Nikolay Sukhanov, FETO SUR Chairman, has explained that at first glance the document met the requirements of the International Transport Workers' Federation, but in fact it was not. For example, the wages did not meet the standards the ITF adhered to, and the collective bargaining agreement should have been signed by the shipowner and the Indian seafarers' union, not a crewing agency.
The tanker's crew consists of 24 seafarers: the Chief Officer is from Russia, the rest of the crew are from India. The SUR representatives informed the crew that, in fact, there was no collective agreement on board, and the employer misled seafarers by signing such agreement with crew.
As for the salary, the AB Seaman earns $1000 while the basic wage is $400. The salary of the captain is $14,000. Meal allowance is $15 per day for each crew member. Insurance certificates required by the Maritime Labor Convention are available on board.
-An AB Seaman on board a flag of convenience vessel should receive at least $1,800, and the insurance amount in case of death should be at least $108,000,” - Sukhanov commented. – The collective bargaining agreement on board the m/v "Carl" is not approved by the ITF. The crew of a flag of convenience vessel not covered by the collective agreement put themselves at risk to be left without salary and insurance payment in case of an incident.
Nikolay Sukhanov cited the example of a flag of convenience vessel which gone down in the port of Hong Kong a few years ago, Russian crew members died. There was a collective agreement on board concluded between the shipowner and the crewing agency, as in the case of the tanker "Carl". Once the question concerning the payment of insurance compensation to families of the six dead crew members arose, the company refused to pay. The widows could receive the money just thanks to ITF and SUR , which went to court. This took about 10 years to win in this battle.
– To raise the crew's awareness of their rights and the fight against FOCs that ITF and SUR lead we gave them books in English on the rights of seafarers working on flag of convenience vessels and fresh issues of "Maritime Unions Herald" – the FETO SUR Chairman added.
Besides, a notice was sent to Rhine Marine Services PVT LTD with demand to conclude an ITF-approved collective bargaining agreement for the tanker "Carl".