The Seafarers' Union of Russia assisted the Filipino crew members of the Rose I vessel (the flag of Liberia) to sign off from the vessel and to be repatriated to their homeland. Without this timely and prompt assistance, the period of their stay on board the vessel could exceed a time limit established by the Maritime Labor Convention.
One of the Filipino seafarers contacted the SUR when the ship was heading to the port of Murmansk. He told that he was working under a contract signed for a period of 9 (+/- 2) months. At the time of the appeal, the Filipino had been working on board the Rose I for almost 11 months, the maximum consecutive period of work stipulated by MLC. The seafarer sent several requests to the company regarding his repatriation but received no response. It turned out that 11 more crew members of this particular vessel were in the same unenviable position.
The trade union contacted the shipowner, and he offered to sign off the seafarers in one of the ports in Libya, not in Murmansk. By the way, the passage there could take another 15-18 days, which would mean that the Filipinos would stay on board the vessel for longer than the allowable 11 months.
This option did not suit the crew members, so the SUR began to seek their signing off in Murmansk. The Arctic Territorial Organization of SUR contacted the Harbor Master's Office and explained that on board the vessel heading to Murmansk the rights of seafarers were grossly violated. When m/v Rose I entered the port, Port State Control detained the ship for non-compliance with the Maritime Labor Convention regarding its requirements for the duration of seafarers' employment contracts. Instead of two days, the ship stayed in Murmansk for almost a week.
During this time, the company urgently organized the signing-off and repatriation of seamen from Murmansk, which included obtaining visas and buying tickets. However, not all of them decided to complete the work on board: just five of the 12 crew members whose contracts had ended by the time they arrived at the port agreed to sign off. They received their final payroll and returned home safely. The remaining members of the crew signed an extension of the contracts and agreed to proceed to the next port of call, where they were actually signed off.
All seafarers sincerely thanked the SUR for their assistance in repatriation.
The Seafarers' Union of Russia highlights that there is no ITF collective bargaining agreement on board the Rose I.