The International Transport Workers’ Federation, to which the SIU is affiliated, has issued the following news release, dated April 11. David Heindel, quoted in the release and identified by his ITF title, also is secretary-treasurer of the SIU.
The ITF has praised today’s decision at the ILO (International Labor Organization) in Geneva to build on the success of the Maritime Labor Convention 2006 by including in it new mechanisms to tackle crew abandonment.
Over 300 maritime representatives addressed a joint proposal by seafarers’ unions and shipowners to address the issue of abandonment, and to ensure that flag states have in place a financial security system to provide abandoned seafarers with outstanding wages, repatriation and other reasonable costs until they arrive home.
There were 8,890 votes in favor of the proposal, none against, and 143 abstentions.
A further set of amendments was also voted on, regarding shipowners’ liability to ensure financial security is provided, certified and inspected, in order to deal with contractual claims in an expeditious way.
The amendments have been adopted and will now be submitted to the next session of the conference for approval.
David Heindel, chair of the ITF Seafarers’ Section, is the spokesperson for the organization at the Geneva session. He commented: “The MLC has entered a new generation today. We have always known that abandonment would be the priority for this stage two of the MLC, but to see that problem so widely recognized and marked for action has been inspiring.”
Speaking from the meeting, ITF President Paddy Crumlin said: “Today’s vote represents a genuine turning point for the convention. It proves that seafarers, shipowners and governments are committed to continuously reviewing the implementation of the MLC in order to ensure that it is a truly global and living instrument for the protection and benefit of all seafarers. Abandonment is a particularly dark stain on the industry and the new amendments are real and concrete relief for seafarers facing that dire predicament.”