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Seafarers sound the alarm in world's ports

Thursday 30 September 2004

Seafarers and shippers sound the alarm in world¹s ports

The international shipping industry will sound an alarm that post 9/11 security measures are criminalising innocent seafarers when ships around the world sound their sirens/whistles at 12:00 local time on World Maritime Day, 30 September 2004.

The International Transport Workers' Federation and its local affiliate the Maritime Union of New Zealand are taking part in the international campaign to defend the rights of seafarers.

Many international seafarers in American ports are denied shore leave and some companies have even been required to hire armed guards to prevent foreign seafarers from leaving their ships, says the International Transport Workers¹ Federation (ITF).

Other countries are no longer adhering to the principle that seafarers should not be required to obtain individual visas in order to enjoy shore leave.

The Maritime Union of New Zealand and the New Zealand Shipping Federation have written to the US Ambassador Mr Charles Swindells asking the American government to allow fair shore leave to seafarers who may have spent months at sea.

The ITF is working for a universal seafarers' identity document that addresses security concerns often caused by "Flag of Convenience" ships.

Ms Whelan says serious problems aboard "Flag of Convenience" vessels in New Zealand ports and waters include crane collapses, injuries to maritime workers, threats to the environment, and abuse and exploitation of crews.

"Flag of Convenience shipping has led to a mixture of cheap ships, unregulated multinational crews, unidentifiable ship-owners and gaping holes in maritime safety and security."


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