World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search


Unions target `flag of convenience` ships during Action Week

New Delhi, 22 November, 2010
Unions target `flag of convenience` ships during Action Week

Seafarers and dockers workers unions in India and Sri Lanka launched a week long industrial action (22-26 November), against `Flags of Convenience’ (FOC) shipping. ITF Inspectors and union activists at all major ports in India launched investigation of ships, crew contracts, and working and living conditions on board FOC ships, notorious for employing seafarers on exploitative conditions.

24 mercantile vessels were inspected by union teams today in various Indian ports and Colombo. Joint dockers and seafarers action in Mumbai led to the signing of an ITF approved agreement on board m.v Lugela, ensuring respectable wages and decent work conditions to the crew. The ship is owned by Kori Shipping Company in Greece but flies the Panama flag and employs Ukrainian seafarers on board and. It is ships like these which fly the flag of a country other than of its ownership and even employing crew of a third nation, which are classified as flag of convenience (FOC) ships. Ship-owners use FOC registers for many reasons for example, cheap registration fees, low or no tax payment and the freedom to employ crew on poor salary and terms of work conditions.

Elsewhere in Paradip on board m.t Magnum Force (Marshall Islands flag) and Chennai on board m.v Sun Glory (Panama flag) the Union teams were met with stiff resistance from the Captain who refused to divulge any information about the crew wage and employment contracts on board their ships. ITF Inspector in Visakhapatnam and his team of activists inspected 6 ships in port. They have initiated negotiations with a Hong Kong based shipping company to sign an agreement to improve crew wages and working conditions and served notice of warning on board m.v Xinda (Panama flag). In Haldia the union activists took action demanding renewal of a crew agreement which had expired in March 2010 on board m.v Harries (Marshall Islands flag) and owned in USA. In Tuticorin port the Union activists discovered that ITF approved agreement on board covered only 13 of the 18 crew members on board m.v Beluga Endeavour (Antigua & Barbuda flag).

Meanwhile in Colombo port the ITF Inspector kept up pressure on m.v OEL Dubai (Panama flag) which is owned in Dubai and employs Indian crew. This year’s week of Action is specially targeting ships owned and or operated by companies in the UAE. Countries in this region have no culture or respect for trade unions and employ seafarers on very exploitative terms and conditions. They are known to evade legal or social responsibilities with more impunity than other FOC owners.

The ITF is a global organization of transport workers’ unions. It brings together some 781 unions in 155 countries in every part of the world and represents over 4.66 million trade union members in every branch of transport.

© Scoop Media

World Headlines


Climate Strike: At UN, Youth Activists Press For Bold Action

This first-ever UN Youth Climate Summit follows Friday’s global ‘climate strike’, which saw millions of young people from across the globe walk out of school and jam streets in major cities, from New York to New Delhi and Santiago to San Francisco. More>>


Pacific: Tongan PM 'Akilisi Pohiva Dies, Aged 78

A constant thorn in the side of the monarchy and nobility, Mr Pohiva's lifelong battle for representation had seen him fired from the public service and charged with sedition... More>>


Untied Kingdom: UK PM Moves To Suspend Parliament In Weeks Before Brexit

The Prime Minister has briefed Cabinet colleagues that the government will bring forward an ambitious new legislative programme for MPs’ approval, and that the current parliamentary session will be brought to an end. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The Hong Kong Protest Movement

The pro-democracy protests enjoy huge support among Hong Kong’s youth, partly because the democratic systems currently at risk have only a limited time span. More>>