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Southeast Asian, Russian seafarers’ unions start campaign against flags of convenience

July 01, 2013, 8:20 UTC+3
Vessels of those shipping companies that violate seafarers’ rights to safe work and timely payment can be arrested in any port of the country participating in the campaign
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Photo EPA/ITAR-TASS

Photo EPA/ITAR-TASS

VLADIVOSTOK, July 1 (Itar-Tass) - Seafarers’ trade unions from countries of Southeast Asia and Russia - members of the International Transport Workers’ Federation - have started a weeklong campaign against flags of convenience.

Trade unionists will pay attention to the creation of safe working conditions for seafarers, occupation accidents guarantees and timely payment of wages.

The campaign will encompass Vladivostok, Nakhodka, Vostochny in Russia’s Far East and other ports on the Pacific Ocean coast, the deputy chairman of the Seafarers’ Union of Russia, Nikolai Sukhanov, told Itar-Tass.

This weeklong fight against flags of convenience is expected to be large-scale. Japanese trade union activists will inspect ships in 46 ports of their country. Labour inspectors from trade unions in Taiwan and South Korea will also implement inspections of maritime labour conditions.

All facts of grave violations will be fixed and handed over to Port State Control officers, who will demand that all notices should be fulfilled before vessels’ departure to new voyages.

Vessels of those shipping companies that violate seafarers’ rights to safe work and timely payment can be arrested in any port of the country participating in the campaign against flags of convenience.

In 2012 during the flag of convenience campaign the Far Eastern regional organization of the Seafarers’ Union of Russia could get payment of wage arrears exceeding $1.5 million to seafarers.

Meanwhile, the public relations group of the Sakhalin coast guard department reports that 30 poaching vessels flying flags of convenience gathered in the ports of Nevelsk, Korsakov and Yuzhno-Kurilsk. Their crewmembers are Russian citizens. In June alone coast guards detained ten vessels flying flags of Cambodia, Sierra Leone and other countries. Over 96 tonnes of illegally caught seafood were found in their holds.

 

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