The ITF (International Transport Workers’ Federation) has praised the progress made at this week’s maritime meetings of the ILO in Geneva, which have just concluded.
Speaking from the proceedings, ITF seafarers’ section chair and ILO Seafarers’ Group spokesperson Dave Heindel, said: “It’s great to see these two meetings – the ILO MLC Special Tripartite Committee (STC) and the Ad Hoc Tripartite Maritime Committee for the amendment of Convention 185 – build on the existing provisions. On the MLC developments, one of the wins has been the achievement of a resolution to establish a working group to prepare proposals for an amendment to protect seafarers’ wages when they are held captive, on or off the vessel as victims of a criminal act.”
Mr Heindel continued: “The possibility of temporarily extending the MLC certificate for up to five months was also agreed. However, we have ensured that the new certificate will be dated from the date of the original expiry date. Thus ensuring that certificates are only valid for five years, as intended.
“The further win is the adoption of an amendment to address harassment and bullying onboard ships with the inclusion of the recently published ICS and ITF guidelines.* The meeting additionally provided a forum to raise the case of the Australian government’s unforgivable behavior concerning the MV Portland.**”
With regard to the Convention 185 amendments, which seek to further facilitate seafarers’ access to shore leave and transit to and from a vessel, Mr Heindel said: “Today we amended the ILO Convention 185 Annexes to incorporate the latest ICAO 9303 Standard. The convention was based on a standard that has been superseded. We hope that this will make the convention the success we aspired to when it was adopted in 2003, and that it will secure further ratification – finally facilitating access to shore leave without a visa, and transit to and from vessels.”
As a result of the amendments being agreed, the Ad Hoc Tripartite Committee, which comprises shipowner, seafarer and government representatives, unanimously proposed and adopted a resolution on the facilitation of access to shore leave and transit of seafarers.
Mr Heindel concluded: “We believe we have made substantial progress and look forward to the provisions of the resolution being delivered in the real world for the benefit of our seafarers.”