ITF E-Circular No. 263 S/D/F/IN/SS/2020
Our ref: S/D/F/IN/SS/JS/an
12 August 2020
“Enough is enough!” campaign
RE: Maritime workers safety and areas of concern under IMO Regulations
Since the outbreak of Covid-19 and since almost 90% of the world’s trade is transported by ships, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) has issued several circular letters to facilitate the continuous movement of the world trade by ensuring smooth operations of ships with practical and pragmatic approaches. Unfortunately, due to the different interpretations by relevant stakeholders - Governments, flag States, port States, classification societies, ship owners and companies -, safe ship operations seem to have be forgotten or deprioritized, thereby endangering the safety of maritime workers and the marine environment.
IMO regulations have been developed and amended by painstaking endeavours over the past 70 years in response to catastrophic and tragic accidents at sea. Whenever there was an unforeseen maritime disaster, the world joined forces in solidarity to overcome the calamity and the maritime industry showed its resilience by enhancing safety regulations as lesson learnt.
Today the ITF is deeply concerned that the work that has been achieved over decades and the international regulations that have been implemented, are being undermined out of convenience and no longer because of necessity as it was in the beginning of the pandemic. Such practices are setting a dangerous precedence that could continue, putting maritime workers’ life and safety in jeopardy.
The main areas of concern are:
· Safety and security of maritime workers;
· Safe manning;
· Hours of rest;
· Extension of ships’ and seafarers’ certificates;
· Environmental protection regulations and maritime workers’ safety;
· Promoting the use of Computer Based Training (CBT) for onboard safety and security training; and
· Use of remote inspections.
The above areas of concern will be integrated into the ITF “Enough is Enough” campaign since we have an obligation and responsibility to the seafarers to say “enough is enough” to reduced safety and security, to reduced manning, to reduced hours of rest and to added responsibilities beyond their duties – all of these factors are threatening the lives of the seafarers.
As seafarers' representatives (organisations and unions), we all have a vital role to play in raising awareness of the seriousness and severity of these issues and how it negatively affects the maritime workers and their family. It is our duty to use every means possible from mainstream and trade media to the legal system and lobbying efforts to raise awareness and ensure that the regulations that have been developed and adopted for the safety and security of the seafarers are being abided and enforced.
This requires a concerted effort and a proactive approach from each of us. Thank you for your continued commitment. Please contact ITF Accredited Representative to the IMO Branko Berlan at Berlan_Branko@itf.org.uk if you require further detailed information.
We hope this information assists you in your efforts.
International Transport Workers’ Federation
ITF House, 49-60 Borough Road, London, SE1 1DR