Film Exposes Black Sea Dangers to Seafarers

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Dec 152014

Substandard ships operating on the Black Sea endanger the lives of seafarers every day. Now Ihe International Transport Workers’ Federation member Marine Employees Solidarity Association (DAD-DER) exposes the appalling conditions in a documentary Dark Side of the Black Sea, has been made by International Transport Workers’ Federation member the Marine Employees in English, Turkish and Russian.

A 2012 report uncovered poor standards of living and working conditions, low wages and unseaworthy vessels in use in the Black Sea. A second report in 2014 report showed little change.

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Ebola and Seafarers: A Cause For Concern

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Aug 042014



Ebola symptoms. Click for larger image. Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Many of today’s seafarers come from countries where healthcare facilities are limited and may be unable to handle an outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease, which has already killed almost 900 people in West Africa.  Three global shipping organisations have expressed concern about the potential exposure of ship’s crews  to the disease and have issued joint guidelines to their members on the risks posed in countries affected by the Ebola virus.

Ebola emerged in 1976 in 2 simultaneous outbreaks, in Nzara, Sudan, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The present outbreak has struck Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. There is no cure and treatment largely consists of mitigating he symptoms (See graphic). Nine out of ten people infected die. Continue reading »

ITF Wants Flag State Forces Onboard To Deter Pirates

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Nov 102011

ITF wants flag state forces to tackle piracy

Private armed security guards should only supplement not replace state armed forces and flag states should place teams onboard to deter pirates,says the International Transport Workers’ Federation, ITF.

In the statement the ITF quotes general secretary David Cockroft: “Somali-based piracy has been allowed to become so successful, savage and wide-ranging that seafarers’ and seafaring organisations’ worries about armed guards have had to be set aside. However, guards can never be anything but a supplement to the sorely-tried existing naval presence, which is now trying to cover an entire ocean.

“The ITF, like the International Shipping Federation and International Chamber of Shipping, would like to see on-vessel detachments made up of the ship’s flag state forces whenever possible.”

He continued:  “Sadly no move is without risks. Pirate gangs are making fortunes out of their crimes. It is easy for them to reach for heavier and heavier weapons and turn to obscene levels of violence to counter defensive measures.”
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Extended piracy zones increase protection for at risk seafarers

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Mar 282011

Computer based learning for vessel defence

The International Bargaining Forum (IBF) has agreed to add an extended zone of risk to the existing high risk piracy area in order to improve the protection of seafarers working in the ever-widening areas in which pirates operate.

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 International Bargaining Forum reaches new piracy area agreement.

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Mar 262011

Pirated vessels like the FV JIH CHUN TSAI 68, pictured here, are often used as motherships to launch attacks on victims

Following in-depth discussion amongst the parties of the International Bargaining Forum, a new agreement has been reached for vessels and seafarers trading in the pirated waters of the Gulf of Aden, Arabian Sea and North Indian Ocean, which will be implemented from 1 April 2011, allowing ship operators time to make any necessary preparations to follow the new agreement.

The IBF says that it “… also wishes to take this opportunity to call upon international governments to enforce the right of safe, free and unhindered passage, so that world trade may continue without causing any threat to the lives of the seafarers sailing aboard merchant vessels in the course of their normal duties”. Continue reading »

ITF Threatens Piracy Boycott

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Feb 252011

Hostages aboard FV Faina

ITF, the International Transport Workers’ Federation, says it has “signalled its revulsion at the increasingly widespread and brutal piracy epidemic” and said it is moving closer to having to advise seafarers to consider avoiding working in all the affected areas – including the Indian Ocean.
The global union federation, which numbers 201 maritime trade unions representing 720,000 seafarers worldwide, took the step after a week-long consultation sparked by the increasing number and range of Somali pirate attacks, and by their now routine use of extreme violence and death threats against the 800 mariners they are currently holding hostage. Continue reading »

Protect Most Sky Crew says ITF, Nautilus

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Jan 202011

Chief officer Hussam Sahyouni, one of the abandoned seafarers, stands next to the writ for owed wages and repatriation costs

ITF inspector for UK maritime union Nautilus Tommy Molloy is pressing the authorities for action to ensure appropriate care and protection for the mixed nationality seafarers onboard the Panama-registered Most Sky. He claims they have effectively been abandoned by the ship’s Turkish owners.

Molloy intervened last November to recover owed wages and secure repatriation for eight crew members on the ship, following its detention by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency in the port of Birkenhead in the north west of England.

The 1,972gt vessel was detained as a result of a number of problems such as: the failure to maintain adequately the ship and equipment; unsigned records of rest; no heating; dirty crew showers and toilets and out of date lifejacket lights. Continue reading »

Sep 262010

A new resource to advance the legal protection of seafarers across the world has been launched: Seafarers’ Rights International.

Inaugurated at the International Maritime Organization , Seafarers’ Rights International is a centre for research and analysis that will raise awareness of seafarers’ legal concerns. It will work to ensure that the protection afforded to seafarers through national and international laws is improved.

Funded by a start-up grant from the ITF Seafarers’ Trust, the centre, which will be based at ITF headquarters in London, UK, is an independent organisation. It will carry out a number of tasks including: research on strategic topics, monitor legal developments affecting seafarers’ law, and coordinate and participate in cross-border networks of researchers, research bodies and universities. Other activities include: promoting educational activities and delivering legal training and consultancy.

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Piracy Petition Hits 920,000

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Sep 242010

imageCampaigners on board a vessel in Felixstowe, UK, demand an end to piracy

Stop Piracy Now! A petition by a coalition of key stakeholders in the shipping industry raised a 920,000-strong vote for action to end piracy off the coast of Somalia. Representatives from seafarers’ unions, ship operators, welfare organisations and others presented the “End Piracy Now” petition to secretary general of the International Maritime Organization Efthimios Mitropoulos in London, UK. The event, which took place on the UN-designated World Maritime Day, coincided with the presentation of the petition to governments worldwide.

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