ITF and JNG: Joint statement on seafarers’ rights and the present crew change crisis
Our industry is responsible for 90% of global trade. Historically, we have been critical to the development of national economies and global prosperity. We remain the lifeblood of the global economy and key to the future recovery, including the jobs of billions of people, as the world responds to Covid-19.
But, as an industry, we can only help move the world forward from this pandemic, and continue to transport the world’s vital goods, if working conditions on ships comply with international maritime regulations. That’s because these regulations guarantee the health, safety, security and welfare of the heart of our industry: the world’s seafarers.
Seafarers need an industry that values them, their contribution, and their human rights. Seafarers need free, fair and safe workplaces.
The maritime employers who are members of the Joint Negotiating Group have worked tirelessly to facilitate crew changes at great financial cost, yet, over 400,000 seafarers remain stranded working on vessels, forced to extend their tours of duty due to border and travel restrictions imposed by many governments around the world, as well as the scarce availability of international flights brought about by the pandemic.
We are uniting to call for ship owners, charterers, management companies, manning agents, hiring partners and all other stakeholders to commit to not applying pressure on seafarers or coercing them in any way to extend their contracts. Neither should they deny seafarers the ability to exercise their human right to stop working, leave ships, and return home.
IMEC Chairman Capt Belal Ahmed said “It is important that seafarers are not disadvantaged for merely standing up for themselves when they have completed their contracts and are mentally and physically not ready to continue to work safely”
We urgently call for cargo owners/operators, charterers and brokers to agree charter party agreements that allow flexibility for ship owners/managers to divert ships and call in ports where crew change is possible, without imposing penalties.
The ITF’s General Secretary, Stephen Cotton said the federation and its affiliates were urging all stakeholders in the industry to take responsibility for supporting crew change wherever they could: “
“Seafarers have a real fear that if they speak or stand up that their careers could be over. Fear of blacklisting prevents them from enforcing their own worker and human rights. Given the mental and physical fatigue caused by extended time on board, it is more important than ever during this crew change crisis that seafarers are able to speak up. We will be coming down hard on anyone in the industry who think they can get away with targeting seafarers who use their rights to reject contract extensions. Our industry is better than that,” said Cotton.
It is the responsibility and duty of all maritime stakeholders to highlight the dire situation faced by seafarers. Most importantly, however, it is the responsibility of the international leaders to acknowledge the dedication and efforts of seafarers in this unprecedented pandemic, and accept that their plight can no longer be ignored.
Stephen Cotton / International Transport Workers Federation General Secretary
Belal Ahmed / IMEC Chairman
ITF & JNG 聯合聲明：針對海員權利及目前的船員更換危機
航運業肩負全球 90% 的貿易。綜觀歷史，我們是影響國家經濟發展與全球貿易繁榮的重要角色。當下全世界皆壟罩在 Covid-19 危機之中，航運業依然是全球經濟命脈與未來復甦的關鍵，影響範圍更擴及數十億人的營生。
海員需要的是一個重視他們本身、他們的貢獻以及他們的人權的行業。海員需要自由、公平和安全的工作場所。儘管參與聯合談判同盟 (JNG) 的海事雇主已付出不少努力和龐大的經費成本執行船員更換，仍有超過40萬名海員無法下船休息。受到全球各國邊界或旅行限制措施，以及國際航班缺乏的影響，許多人被迫延長他們在船航行工作的時間。
國際海事雇主理事會 (IMEC) 主席貝拉．阿赫梅德(Belal Ahmed)船長表示：「當船員履行了契約，身心理上都還沒準備好繼續安全地工作時，他們為此挺身而出，不會處於不利的地位，這才是最重要的。」
ITF 秘書長史帝芬．柯頓(Stephen Cotton)表示，ITF及會員組織正在敦促所有利益相關者負起責任，盡可能促成船員更換：「海員確實擔心自己一旦出聲或表態，職業生涯就可能面臨終結。害怕自己被列入黑名單，使得他們不敢行使自己的勞工權利和人權。由於在船工作時間延長，導致他們身心俱疲，因此在這次的船員更換危機中，海員的聲音比以往任何時刻都更為重要。行業中任何一方若是拿行使權利拒絕延長契約的海員開刀，我們都將嚴厲譴責。」