Category Archives: Maritime Unions

Abandoned crews: all’s well that ends well?

The press release issued by the ITF (International Transport Workers’ Federation) last 13th of March was understandably jubilant: 17 crew members of the Panama-flagged Sea Honest had all finally returned home. The Indian and Turkish seamen were abandoned in Algeria, unpaid and without provisions, in July 2016. The nightmare is over. Justice has been done, according to the ITF. I […]

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A timeless question on seafarers’ welfare

Who would doubt that the world cares about seafarers? They’ve given more teeth to ILO Maritime Labour Convention, 2006, with new amendments aimed at protecting abandoned seafarers and providing financial security for compensation in cases of death and long-term disability. They recently handed out the prestigious 2014 Seafarers’ Welfare Awards. And come the 25th of June, maritime folks will once […]

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The myth of the invisible seafarers

It’s interesting that IMO (International Maritime Organization) has picked ‘Faces of the Sea’ as its campaign theme for the Day of the Seafarer 2013. To spotlight ‘the human face of shipping,’ the UN agency has asked seafarers to share pictures of themselves on its social media channels. Well and good. As IMO Secretary General Koji Sekimizu himself said in his DOSF […]

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Commodification of seafarers goes on

The recent death of 22-year-old engineer cadet Dayra Wood on board a Panamanian-flag product carrier does not only sadden us. The ITF Panama inspector’s report, which was quoted in the ITF press statement of 10th September, fills us with anguish and rage. For more than two weeks, the ship nonchalantly sailed through Panama and thence to Mexico whilst the young […]

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The ITF and the yin-yang principle

The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) is known for its belligerence. Yet, it has it soft, gentle and caring side – as we were reminded a few days ago when the union’s philanthropic arm, The ITF Seafarers’ Trust, announced its latest grants totaling £1,078,533 (USD1,711,685). Our readers may not believe in the Taoist yin-yang principle, but it’s operative in all […]

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More on Philipp double book-keeping

There seems no reason to doubt the ITF’s claim that there was double book-keeping on the Gibraltar-registered Philipp. Else, why would the owners, Vega Friedrich Dauber GMBH & Co KG, and their manning agent, Vega Manila Crewmanagement, agree to pay the Filipino crew additional money? What wasn’t quite clear, even to us initially, was the question of what collective wage […]

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Of “ships of shame” and the UN

It’s no longer news when the ITF (International Transport Workers’ Federation) interdicts a ship. The union has been running after “ships of shame” for years. But it’s news when the ship in question is chartered by the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) to carry food for hungry humans. On 18th October 2011, Mombasa-based ITF inspector Betty Makena Mutugi together […]

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How do seafarers communicate?

The following report from the ITF (International Transport Workers’ Federation) should be of interest to unions as well as shipowners and manning agents: Research commissioned by the ITF Seafarers’ Trust has highlighted the need for trade unions to embrace electronic means of communication with their seafarer members. Carried out by London Metropolitan University’s Working Lives Research Institute, the project surveyed […]

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The curse of double book-keeping

Given all the hoopla over seafarers’ rights and the ILO Maritime Labour Convention 2006, one would think that double book-keeping has gone out of fashion – an atavism, a practice engaged in only by desperate shipowners seeking to cut crew costs. Not so, apparently. The ITF (International Transport Workers’ Federation) says it stumbled on what it claims was a system […]

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