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AÔÔÈËÈÐÎÂÀÍÍÛÉ ×ËÅÍ ITF
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 visited the m/v Fuda (Panama flag, IMO 9331933) staying at the Nakhodka Commercial Sea Port under a coal loading. The SUR representatives have studied the collective agreement, which, according to the Master, was signed with the ITF affiliated trade union, and understood that this was not the case. Following their call to the company the employer assured that he would enter into negotiations with an ITF affiliated union. However, the FETO SUR Inspectors warned that a notice would be sent to the shipowner requesting to conclude a fair collective agreement, which would at least provide seafarers with good wages and appropriate health and life insurance.
In the meantime, during the inspection of the working and living conditions on board the m/v Fuda it became evident there was no ITF collective agreement on board. According to Nikolay Sukhanov, FETO SUR Chairman, an AB Seaman salary was USD729, and that of a captain was about USD5,000. There were insurance certificates in compliance with the requirements of the Maritime Labor Convention, but none of the crew members knew the amount of compensation in case of death during a voyage. “The insurance amount has not been specified in the individual contracts of employment”, - he added.
The registered owner of the vessel is Fuda Maritime Co Ltd, the operator and beneficial owner is Fu Yun Shipping Co, both are Hong Kong based. The crew consists of 22 seafarers: 18 Chinese, two Burmese and one Filipino.
The SUR representatives told the crew gathered in the mess room that the peculiarity of operating a ship under a flag of convenience is that the ship is not governed by the laws of China, Burma or the Philippines. “In the absence of oversight by the flag state, nothing prevents the owners from establishing their own rules and regulations. A seafarer working on board a FOC vessel can't rely on the law that's why the violations of wage regulations and poor living conditions are so widespread on such vessels", - Sukhanov explained. “The ITF remains an opposing force which can to protect the mariners' interests: mainly the presence of a collective agreement on board the ship gives seafarers confidence and stability.”
The SUR FETO Chairman added that the seafarers were informed that a notice about the need to conclude an ITF agreement had been sent to Fu Yun Shipping Co. The crew of m/v "Fuda" ran a protest action on board against Flags of Convenience in a show of solidarity with the ITF.