Some seafarers are undoubtedly satisfied with their manning agents. So long as the pay is good, the vessel is seaworthy, the shipowner complies with the Maritime Labour Convention, and one’s contract is renewed when it ends, what is there to complain about? Surely, though, seafarers deserve much more. The following, in my view, are seven things that make for an ideal manning agent:

Always treats seafarers with respect

Does not exploit maritime cadets by using them as unpaid labour (i.e., as office gofers, company drivers and domestic servants)

Defends his crew in situations where the foreign ship captain is clearly in the wrong or is abusive

Facilitates the release of back wages, overtime pay and other moneys due to a seafarer

Expedites, instead of obstructing, the payment of legitimate seafarer claims for disability benefits

Releases monthly family allotments on time as mandated by ILO Maritime Labour Convention, 2006

Does not skim money from the dollar remittances of seafarers

I often wonder if a manning agent exists who meets all seven criteria. Tell me if you know of one.

~ Barista Uno

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