Manning agencies guilty of mistreating seafarers will be publicly blacklisted
Manning agencies are now under International Transport Workers Federation’s (ITF) radar after several reports of mistreating seafarers. A Filipino agency is currently on the verge of being classed as “red” – best to avoid.
What gets one red?
Poor working conditions is one cardinal sin of seafarers’ welfare. ITF revealed its inspectors have found vessels to be in unsafe or unhygienic conditions, which subjected crew to danger. Other poor conditions include disabled power within specific hours, resulting in poor ventilation and no light. Companies guilty of such would be in ITF’s hall of shame. It comes in a form of a collective message from ITF’s network of 134 inspectors and 670 affiliated unions across more than 150 countries to steer clear of these companies.
Steve Trowsdale, ITF’s Inspectorate Coordinator remarked: “These seafarers were trapped into working conditions well below the minimum we expected. In some cases, they were below the national’s and international’s law basics. Manning agencies have a duty to protect the seafarers, and repatriate if conditions prove unsatisfactory or the jobs were advertised in a misleading way.” He stressed ITF will have no choice but to formally red list the manning agency and issue a worldwide alert through its networks warning seafarers of the potential dangers of engaging with the companies in question.
Shortchanging seafarers in terms of salary is also a matter the ITF would not tolerate. The body noted wages were switched from US dollars to another currency at the last minute, resulting in seafarers receiving much lesser than initially offered. Some were even charged for their necessities or had their salaries and passports withheld. Moreover, those who contacted unions for help would suffer “punishments” in terms of abandonment without salary, amongst others. ITF is also actively watching agencies who are uncooperative in investigations. In conclusion, there are many ways to get into this hall of shame, just as there are many ways to avoid it. All it takes is to spare a thought for seafarers’ welfare.