Unions from states surrounding the Black Sea are promoting a new film exposing the dire and disgraceful conditions under which many seafarers live –and die – there.
The powerful new film, Dark Side of the Black Sea, has been made by ITF (International Transport Workers’ Federation) member the Marine Employees Solidarity Association (DAD-DER) to expose the number of lives being put at risk by the use of substandard ships. Available in English, Turkish and Russian, it can be seen here.
Unions in the region have used a week of action as a tool to promote the film to transport workers and to bring the trade union and human rights issues to the attention of a wider audience. Among activities have been ship visits, distribution of DVDs, seafarers’ calendars and magazines, information sessions with seafarers, film screenings, press conferences and visits to maritime institutions to educate future seafarers on the Black Sea project and distribute copies of the film.
A 2012 report uncovered poor standards of living and working conditions, low wages and unseaworthy vessels in use in the Black Sea. A subsequent 2014 report found these issues to be ongoing.
The ITF is working with unions in the region to try and improve the situation for seafarers. Captain Ural Cagirici from DAD-DER said: “We want to promote this film and its core message to transport workers worldwide, but also to a wider audience beyond the trade union movement. The fact that seafarers are risking their lives to make a living isn’t just a trade union issue, it’s a human rights issue too. At the moment seafarers in this region aren’t getting the protection they need and that’s something we want to change.”
The project is focused on three main areas; education, primarily through action weeks; ratification of the Maritime Labour Convention by Black Sea states; and organising the region’s seafarers.