15.11.2022

National laws do not apply on a vessel under a flag of convenience

Inspectors of the Far Eastern Territorial Organization of the Seafarers Union of Russia visited the m/v Golden Flame (flag of Panama, IMO 9605059), which was moored at the Vostochny commercial sea port under coal loading bound to the ports of South Korea. As the chairman of the FETO SUR Nikolay Sukhanov noted, the vessel is not covered by the ITF collective agreement , but, as required by the Maritime Labor Convention, there are insurance certificates. However, Vietnamese seafarers do not know how much they are insured for in case of death. The captain of Golden Flame said that the crew is insured in accordance with the requirements of Vietnamese laws. Everything would be fine, but the legislation of Vietnam is not applicable on a ship that flies a flag of convenience.

The inspectors of the FETO SUR told the crew about this. The Vietnamese shipowner, having raised the flag of Panama on board and recruited Vietnamese seafarers, is clearly trying to save on the salary fund. Instead of paying to AB the salary in amount of $1800, according to the ITF collective agreement, the employer transfers $925. So, the base rate of AB is only $ 425, the salary of a captain is $2,400, which is also catastrophically small for this position. Meals on the ship are organized for $8 per day for each crewmember. An important role in the fight against the system of flags of convenience is played by the ITF. When visiting ships, ITF inspectors often identify various abuses against seafarers: among them are low wages, poor working and living conditions on board, long hours of work without sufficient rest, short shore leave or a ban on going ashore, the need to rely on charitable organizations. In addition, the crew hired under a convenient flag is often denied basic human rights. This is because cheap registers do not ensure compliance with minimum social norms. If the flag of convenience state monitored the working conditions of seafarers, shipowners would soon lose interest in cheap registers, -noted Nikolay Sukhanov. Before the departure of the inspectors of the FETO SUR, the seafarers took an active part in the action to combat flags of convenience on the stern of the ship and asked to send a notice of warning to the Hanoi company Asia Pacific Shipping Company Limited with a proposal to conclude a collective agreement of the ITF. The crew was invited to the International Seafarers Club in Nakhodka in their free time from watches. In addition, the crew of Golden Flame was given books on the rights of seafarers in English and the latest magazines Maritime Union Herald which tells about the activities of the ITF and the SUR towards the fight against flags of convenience.

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