Key Issue is to Help Seafarers


Today the 34th Asia-Pacific Seafarers Union Summit has started its work. It will last till October 7. The issues of emergency assistance to seafarers in distress are on the Summit's agenda. There are such questions as accidents, pirate attacks, unfair shipowners leaving crew without salaries and funds to their repatriation. Among the participants of the event are  the Seafarers' Union of Russia (SUR) delegation, including the SUR's vice-president Vadim Ivanov and  chairman of the SUR Far Eastern Regional Organization Nikolai Sukhanov and his  assistant Valentin Zherebtsov. The Russian delegation also includes Valery Berezinsky, chairman at the Pacific Union of Seafarers   Committee and Pyotr Osichansky, chairman of the Committee at the Vladivostok Primary  Union Organization.

The main question for the discussion between the leaders of Asia-Pacific maritime unions  is  the way of  more effective support  of  distressed crew. The  seafarers have to know even if they are in foreign country, representatives  of local union will do their best  to help crew. Firstly, coordination of maritime unions will assist  to  help abandoned  crew more quickly. The  union leaders from Asia-Pacific Region recognized at the preliminary meeting of the working group in Tokyo during this spring, that this problem is especially tension in  the region.

“However the amendments to the MLC came to force on January 18, 2017, which  are   bind shipowners to have repatriation insurance for crew, there are a lot of abandoned seafarers worldwide,” says Nikolai Sukhanov. “During the working group meeting many participants were sharing information   on the amount  of abandoned  seafarers  and in which countries. It appears that the amendments were adopted, but somewhere seafarers stay hunger and unwanted. Representatives of all unions admitted to need of tightening port control over  compliance of the MLC amendments and comprehensive inspection of insurance certificates and their  authenticity on ship. We think that flag state should  be  responsible  for abandoned  crew and pay expenses on their repatriation because flag state authorities couldn't be bothered to examine the authenticity of shipowners' insurance certificates.”

An issue  of  youth and women involvement  into the  industry also will be discussed at the  Summit. This question  is urgent throughout the transport industry. It is a hot-button issue for the maritime industry: women are rare at the commercial fleet and if they are there, they caught on an amazed  or even slighting people's eye. The next topic  will be the question of counter-piracy measures. It is not surprise that activity of pirates is on the rise in Asia, especially in the Philippines region. Recently Japan, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia and other members of  the Association of Southeast Asian Nations came to agreement about joint exercise  to counteract the rising threat.