Marine Café Blog often hones in on topics that are hardly talked about by the maritime community and generally ignored by the shipping press. It was the first to raise three issues in particular which involve the rights and welfare of seafarers. Perhaps I should take some pride in this, but I don’t. The reason is that these issues continue to fall on many deaf ears. It can be bloody frustrating.
Restricted access to the full text of the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW) — no free online access; IMO selling even the electronic edition
The only plausible explanation is that the IMO bureaucrats want to exercise power and control. “These publications are ours, and you need to pay even for the electronic editions!” is the message… (“Why is the IMO selling the STCW electronic edition?“, 5 November 2021)
Use of maritime cadets as unpaid labour — practice rampant in Manila, perhaps in some other developing countries as well
What could be more demeaning for a would-be ship officer than to be ordered by a secretary to go out and buy pizza for the company staff? Or to be made to wash dishes and clean the office toilet? Yet, many go through such indignities for the chance to go to sea and complete the 12-month shipboard apprenticeship required for graduation. It could be many months before they finally get the big break. (“Filipino maritime cadets as modern-day slaves“, 2 July 2019)
Dishonest manning agents skimming money from seafarer remittances — Filipino seafarers and their families are losing millions of dollars annually to the thieves
It’s all a reflection of a damaged culture — a skewed mindset which considers it all right to cheat seafarers on their remittances because they earn in dollars. Surely, they wouldn’t mind sharing part of their good fortune? (“Seafarer remittances: Why the stealing won’t stop“, 21 September 2020)