Tag Archives: “life at sea”

LIFE AT SEA: Phillipines ratifies ILO Convention 185

MANILA, Philippines — Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz announced the ratification by President Benigno S. Aquino III of the International Labor Organization (ILO) Convention 185 or the Seafarers’ Identity Convention (Revised) 2003 which provides a uniform Seafarers’ Identity Document (SID) that ILO member-countries are required to issue to their seafarers.

“With the ratification of ILO Convention 185, the security of our seafarers and their continued employment is assured,” Baldoz said.

Baldoz said ILO C185 also spells out the requirements for ILO member-countries on how to establish processes and procedures for the issuance of SIDs.

All countries ratifying ILO Convention No. 185 will be required to issue new SIDs that conform to the requirements specified in ILO SID-0002, the standard which puts in place a comprehensive security system that enables the first global implementation of biometric identification technology on a mandatory basis, thus enabling positive identification of the seafarer that holds the document.

“The Philippines has done extensive work for the implementation of the ILO Convention 185 as preparation for its ratification. Because of this, Filipino seafarers will be able to move more easily around the world with this international document,” said Baldoz.

ILO Convention 185 revised the earlier Seafarers’ Identity Documents Convention, 1958 (No. 108). The much needed changes in the new Convention relates to the identification of seafarers.

Under ILO C185, the new SID carries a fingerprint-based biometric template, aside from the normal physical features for a modern machine-readable identity document, which was adopted with the agreement of the world’s ship owners and seafarer organizations. This new SID must conform to an international standard enabling the biometric templates on a SID issued by one country to be correctly read by devices used in other countries.

In addition, border authorities around the world will be able to check the authenticity of a SID produced by a seafarer, as the new Convention enables them to verify information in the SID either by reference to the national electronic database in which each issued SID must be stored, or through the national focal point of the country of issuance, which must be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

In addition, the SID country-issuing must arrange for an independent evaluation of the administration of its issuance system to be carried out at least once every five years. The evaluation report is reviewed within the framework of the ILO with a view to the maintenance of a list of the countries that fully meet the minimum requirements laid down by the Convention.

Source: http://www.mb.com.ph/articles/347266/aquino-ratifies-ilo-convention-185

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Pirates and weather, hazards of the sea faced by seafarers

By Patrick Byrne | BBC News, East of England

On and off-shore of East Anglia’s ports hundreds of seafarers will not be able to spend Christmas with their families.

Many of the sailors have faced hardship in cramped quarters, perils of weather and the threat of pirate attacks.

Pirates prowl the waters off the coast of West Africa through which many English seafarers have come and gone.

Agencies will be working to support the sailors this Christmas including the Catholic Apostleship of the Sea, whose chaplain will be carrying out visits.

Sister Marian Davey, who is the chaplain for the East Coast ports, is among those who have helped deal with sailors who fled attacks by pirates off Somalia.

She said: “Sadly, we can no longer think of piracy as just part of maritime mythology or seafarers tales.

“It’s a reality for many seafarers on ships today.”

She said that earlier this year she spent some time with a crew in Felixstowe whose ship had been threatened by pirates.

Sister Davey added: “One pirate attempted to climb onboard, but fell off, as the captain manoeuvred the ship, causing him to lose his grip.

“Meanwhile a speedboat full of pirates with a lot of weapons was ready to fire at the ship. In this case, it ended well, as the ship was able to speed away out of reach of their guns.

“When the ship arrived in Felixstowe three weeks later quite a few of the Filipino crew were still recovering. But they said they had no choice but to get on with the next stage of the voyage to earn a living wage to support their families back home.”

Ports like Tilbury and Harwich in Essex, Felixstowe, Ipswich and Lowestoft in Suffolk, and Great Yarmouth and King’s Lynn, in Norfolk, deal with the trading ships.

While much of England enjoys a festive holiday break, busy container ports like Tilbury, Harwich and Felixstowe will continue working over Christmas.

Lonely time

Crews represent a wide range of nations and hold an equally varied number of religious beliefs. However, most regard Christmas as a universal feast with its focus on the family.

But for seafarers Christmas can be a lonely time, hundreds or thousands of miles from their families.

For Sister Davey, it means visiting the various ports in her patch, taking some small gifts donated by local churches, including warm clothing.

She also provides seafarers with telephone top-ups so they can use the internet to contact their families back home.

Many of the Filipino seafarers gather onboard for a special meal on Christmas Eve.

“It’s a way of staying connected to the tradition where the whole family gathers to celebrate and give thanks,” Sister Davey said.

“I will try to join a few of these meals, but I am also busy responding to requests for taking seafarers to services or to celebrate a service onboard.”

She said the meal was usually followed by a karaoke carol session and often a visit from Santa.

The captain of a small barge with three Filipinos onboard has asked her to provide some small gifts and calendars for the crew when they arrive in Harwich a few days after Christmas.

“Many of the seafarers in the East Anglian ports are from Russia, Ukraine and Romania, so I visit ships in early January with some small snacks of Eastern European food for the crews to celebrate their Christmas on 6 January.”

Last month the Swanland, a cargo ship carrying rocks, sank 10 miles off the coast of Wales after a huge wave cracked its hull. One member of the Russian crew died and five are still missing.

Sister Davey had been on board the Swanland earlier this year. She had also driven some of the crew to the seafarers’ centre in the port, so that they could use the internet and phone their families back home.

“The crew was a little bit frosty at first, but this is common with Russian seafarers. When I gave them some news bulletins in Russian, they were very grateful,” she said.

Over Christmas Sr Davey will be praying for a safe passage through piracy waters for the seafarers as they make their return trips.

Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-16242216?print=true

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MARITIME INDUSTRY | Seafarers’ depression tackled in Australia

Booklets on the topic of depression have been distributed on 476 ships since the beginning of the year in Melbourne and other ports in Victoria, Australia. The information has been tailored for the masters of the more than 2,000 merchant ships carrying 60,000 seafarers that berth in these locations.

Written in English, Chinese and Russian the booklets contain telephone numbers masters can call for help regarding a seafarer who may suffering depression.

Ship visitors from the Stella Maris Seafarers’ Centre and the Missions to Seafarers Victoria (Melbourne, Geelong, Hastings and Portland) are distributing the booklets.

Production of leaflets in English, Chinese and Russian for non-officer seafarers is underway with distribution expected to start in August 2010.

A project website was created at http://www.seafarersmentalhealth.org with a new project email address at info@seafarersmentalhbealth.org. The booklets in English, Chinese and Russian can be downloaded through the website.


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YEAR OF THE SEAFARER | 80,000 seafarers needed until 2020

Adam Corbett | TRADEWINDS.NO

In the next ten years shipping companies will need another 32,153 officers and 46,881 ratings to crew the world fleet, according to a new Japanese study.

The study was compiled by the Japan International Transport Institute and the Nippon Foundation, as part of a bid to help the industry overcome the labour shortage problem.

At a seminar arranged yesterday at the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) the two Japanese bodies tried to generate ideas to boost recruitment.

Their own study of maritime institutes found that while a seafaring job is viewed as having high status and is well paid there are draw backs.

Living conditions at sea are poor and it can cause difficulty in relationships and family life leading many to cut short their career at sea for a land based job.

The industry has not been successful in attracting women either with 94% of all women seafarers working on ferries and cruise ships.

Those who do work in merchant shipping find they have fewer responsibilities than their male counterparts and the working culture is not family friendly.

Shipowner Maria Bottiglieri said her company had started to provide a free company nursery to attract and accommodate more female seafarers.

Peter Cremers, CEO of Anglo-Eastern Ship Management Services, called on the industry to be more attractive to the young by improving the working environment and to use technologies like the internet to promote the opportunities available.

“To make our industry more attractive, the living conditions on board must be improved to be in line with the expectations of the youngsters.

“The minimum requirements must be upgraded so that the accommodation on board feels like a ‘home’ and not a posting to a remote location,” he said.

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HONG KONG: Guilty verdicts on four seafarers

Edited from SAFETY AT SEA INTERNATIONAL (14 Jan 2010)
Two masters, one from of a Ukrainian tugboat and the other from a Chinese bulk carrier, were found guilty of endangering  the safety of people at sea, along with two local Hong Kong pilots that were helping the Chinese carrier navigate a narrow channel at the time of a collision off the coast of Hong Kong two years ago, killing 18 seafarers from the Ukrainian tug .

The four defendants, Captain of the Neftegaz-67, Yuriy Kulemesin, 45, Liu Bo, captain of the Yaohai, 37, and pilots Tang Dock-wah, 61, and Bruce Chun Wak-tak had pleaded not guilty. The four now face up to four years in jail.

Delivering her verdict in the District Court, Judge Susana D’Almada Remedios said crew on board both vessel should have seen that they were heading towards each other had they looked at their radar devices. The judge added, although there was plenty of time to avert disaster, Kulemesin did not take action to avoid the collision until about 45 seconds before it occurred.

The court heard that despite multiple warnings from the Hong Kong Marine Department, both vessels stayed on a course towards each other. Tang, on board the Yaotai told the court he thought his vessel would pass the Neftegaz for a port-to-port passing. By the time he ordered a hard-to-starboard turn it was too late.

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At sea, never take things for granted. It may kill you.

By Jason Faustino — The Daily Tribune,


Transportation and Communications Secretary Leandro Mendoza yesterday blamed the series of sea tragedies, eight of which were recorded in the past two years, to “human error.”

Mendoza said such cause was traceable to lack of competent seafarers and ship maintenance crew.

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