Ship manning agents may have wealth and influence, but they do not, on the whole, enjoy a good reputation. For this they only have themselves to blame. Many of these glorified clerks are rogues who protect their own interests and those of the shipowners they serve, not the interest of seafarers. The following are four of the most egregious acts that give the crewing business a bad name.
Skimming money from the remittances of seafarers
For family allotments, dishonest agents use a lower-than-the-official forex rate to convert the dollars to local currency. They keep the difference for themselves, which makes the practice a form of swindling.
Stonewalling seafarers on legitimate money claims
Some agents delay the release of seafarers’ back wages, overtime pay, family allotments, etc. for no justifiable reason. Seafarers and their families who follow up these claims are given the runaround.
Using maritime cadets as unpaid labour
Cadets are made to do all sorts of things in exchange for being put on board a ship for the mandatory 12-month training as apprentice officers. READ MORE: Ah, the things they make Filipino maritime cadets do!
Failure to protect the interest of the seafarers they deploy
Some agents curry favour with their foreign principals by taking their sides in disputes involving seafarers (e.g., questioning the award of disability benefits to which the individual is entitled).
~ Barista Uno