MANILA, Philippines – The seafarers’ committee of the Asian Shipowners’ Forum (ASF) has expressed concern on the shortage of seafarers, particularly in the massive orders of new building ships.
In response, many of the member associations of the ASF have been taking urgent action to recruit, train, and retain seafarers.
The committee, however, recognized that it takes time to train seafarers and expressed concern about the consequences of too rapid promotion of seafarers through the ranks, and urges ship owners and managers to consider implementing a stringent process of post-qualification seatime and proper appraisal before promotion.
The committee also expressed strong concern at the continuing trend of piracy attacks on merchant ships and the apparent inability of the world’s navies to protect ships passing through the Gulf of Aden and the Western Indian Ocean.
There were also rising concerns about the increased number of attacks in the South China Sea.
The situation has become a serious crisis, one that deeply affects the mental health of the seafarers and their families and the carriage of world trade.
While the ASF is grateful for the protection of the naval forces deployed in and around the Gulf, the United Nations and the IMO must exercise greater efforts to protect ships and their crews when transiting pirate infested and treacherous waters.
The ASF committee expressed serious concern at a proposal by the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) to unilaterally attempt to determine crew costs of national flag vessels, which would violate national policies.
The determination of seafarer wages is a matter of negotiation between the shipowner and seafarer, the ASF said.
The ASF committee has reiterated its position that the employment conditions of seafarers should be consistent with the current market, economic and living situation of each country or region where the seafarers are domiciled.
Source: Manila Bulletin, 2010.11.22