This is a blog I found in a website titled "Maritime bulletin", a shipowner oriented portal for merchant navy.You may find how this blogger is unaware and careless about conditions of seafarers of all world in various types of ships and is completely non-sympathetic of the rigors of seamen.
Please read the views of this writer about the Maritime Labour Convention(Bill of rights) and who criticizes the fruit which we seafarers and the unions have achieved after a long fight,in the form of Bill of rights in Maritime labour convention.
The excerpts of that blog are below
No doubts remain as to the fate of the ILO Maritime Labour Convention 2006 (Bill of Rights, BOR), the BOR will be implemented, and possible consequences are already raising fears among many shipowners. The core of the BOR is rather simple – BOR is to set compulsory standards for the wellbeing of seafarers around the world, including standards of living and working conditions, wages, medical care, welfare, social security.
The full implementation of the BOR means, simply speaking, the emergence of a new power to control the shipping, with a full range of measures to be taken against the violators of the BOR standards, up to the power to detain the vessel and instigate an investigation.
The BOR standards are actually, the list of meticulously filed regulations of each aspect of the shipping related to crews, from accommodations to salaries, from working hours to the size of cabins and mattresses. In other words, BOR is tasking the shipping with the ideal working and living conditions of the crews, put in such a way, that any vessel presently plying the oceans may be found failing to meet all the requests, in some small or some big way, depending on the whim of the inspector.
All the industry media is keeping quiet about the possible problems which may arise with BOR implementation, and I found only one article on InterManager website, if I’m correct, in which the author raised some questions about possible problems, and as far as I know, questions remain unanswered. Who’s to carry out the inspections? I found original BOR text rather vague in this aspect, but Russian official translation of the BOR clearly says the State controlling body responsible for the implementation and the enforcement of the BOR nominates the recognized body to carry out all the inspections and other activities, related to the fulfillment of BOR. Russian version equals “recognized body” to a “public body”, or to make it short, to a trade union.
Russia doesn’t yet ratified the BOR, but there is little doubt it wouldn’t, as long as BOR ratification is lobbied first of all, by Seafarers Union of Russia (SUR), and secondly, by Russian Government. Russia is the only country we know of, which doesn’t have any defined policy towards national maritime labour working abroad. Russian the-then Vice Premier Sergey Ivanov officially declared in year 2010 during Russian Maritime Board Session (Russian Maritime Board is officially the main State body responsible for Russian maritime policy, merchant, fisheries, navy and inland waterways), that all Russian seafarers who work under any flag except Russian, do it on their own, and Russia has no obligations towards them. SUR was doing it’s best during the crisis year of 2009 to create a nation-wide problem out of abandoned or not-paid crews, and succeeded. Repatriation of several dozens of seafarers (dozens, not hundreds) was paid for by the State, costing the poor Russia some three or five hundred thousand dollars, enough to make Russian Government so indignant, that it nominated SUR as the main body responsible for helping out the distressed crews working in foreign companies on board of foreign-flagged vessels. Roughly, there are some 90,000-100,000 Russian seamen working abroad (Russian Government together with SUR simply don’t have exact figures, they don’t run such statistics), flowing into the country not less than $700 million annually, but for Russia it’s not enough, seamen should be trouble-safe and cost Mother-Russia nothing.
It may be assumed, that in many countries – members of the BOR, national trade unions will be nominated as bodies responsible for the fulfillment of the BOR standards and port inspections.
The BOR Code also bears a tremendous potential for corruption, fraud and misuse, with absolutely no mechanism to prevent it. The regulations permit the inspector to find faults and flaws on board of just any vessel, because the BOR is set to find ideal vessels with ideal conditions, not to find and correct vessels with unacceptable conditions, and that’s a very big, fundamental difference. The whole process of the BOR implementation will turn into thoroughly subjective judgment of a person authorized for inspection and detention, who’s armed with requests which are hard, if possible, to be met. His judgment just can’t be disputed by ship owner or ship officers, there are no ways to oppose the inspector on the spot or in any sensible time period, to avoid each owner’s nightmare, which is the detention.
The BOR will turn into a gold mine of corruption with a wide range of all possible misuses, from the petty bribe on board of the vessel, to bigger things like coercing the ship owner into the “agreement” with the ITF, or hampering the competing company. The BOR is inviting whistle-blowers among the crews to file anonymous complaints, any interested party then, may induce (bribe) a crew member of aimed vessel to complain, in order to detain this vessel. I know at least two cases, when ITF in one case, and SUR in another, induced crew members to stage protests on thoroughly groundless complaints. SUR was trying to force the ship owner to sign an “agreement”, ITF was trying to push the owner out of the regional market (UK and Ireland, to be exact).
The BOR, its’ creators (ILO and ITF) and future controlling bodies whoever they may be, simply don’t have any responsibility or any institution above them to check and control them. Ship owners and ship officers are the sole victims of a new international law, they’re responsible for just anything, with absolutely no rights to defend themselves. The BOR is expected to be eagerly awaited and gladly accepted by all the suffering in gruesome living and working conditions seafarers – don’t fool yourselves, no officer of any vessel in merchant fleet is to be made happy with a perspective of a new kind of inspection, as powerful as PSC or Coast Guard. All the masters and officers around the world can’t curse enough US 9/11 terror attack and the resulting “security” regulations, which for them, are a heavy burden and a damn nuisance, now they’ll get a new one, potentially more harmful, more time and energy consuming, than both PSC and CG regulations taken together.
ILO and ITF will achieve their main aim – power and the control over a lion’s share of global maritime labour. China will be more than happy, too, because some of the BOR implications will make China’s merchant fleet and China’s maritime labour unrivalled in the market.
Please comment about what do you think is right. You can also read the original blog here