October 2009

Crew Changes at Sea

In a survey of shipowners, 45% of the respondents  state that they perfrom crew changes at sea. The Norwegiam Maritime Directorate is of the opinion that the current regulations safeguard the safety of personnel. The Norwegian Maritime Officers’ Association (NMOA)  disagrees profoundly and is calling for the practice to be prohibited.

To date this year, the Directorate has registered  71 breaches of the rules governing hours of rest. Four of these breaches have resulted in fines.

“Fines for breaches of the new Ship Safety and Security Act can be very high. It is important that our members follow the rules down to the finest detail so that they – as the shiponwer’s representatives – don’t  play a part in undermining the regulations, ” says NMOA’s Director, Captain Hans Sande.  


The IMO Discusses Rest Hours 

Norway’s views on rest hours did not prevail at the recent IMO meeting in London. The Norwegian proposal is that even in exceptional circumstances no fewer than 10 hours of rest must be taken every day.

“As a result of the proposal by the International Federation of Shipmaster’s Associations (IFSMA) the European Union’s proposal was not adopted. Yet again, the matter was postponed,” say Bjørn Haave. He adds that the European Union, which has tabled the controversial proposal under which seafarers could risk having to work for 98 hours without interruption, will have to explain and expand upon its views.


Seafarers are Being Criminalized

The Captain and mate of “Full City”, which ran aground in Langesund this summer, have been charged with environmental offences, charges wich carry potential prison      sentences of 10 years.

“The NMOA is totally opposed to the application of this law, which serves to criminalize seafarers who are simply performing their duties,” says Head of Department Bjørn Haave. In his view, this case is reminiscent of similar cases in other countries where accidents/incidents have been used in order to punish seafarers for actions that to a large extent make up part of the risk associated with practising the profession. It is also worth noting that the shipowner has not been charged. This suggests that the authorities have insufficient insight into the maritime regulations.


Nordic Action Week

The ITF Nordic Week of action (21 to 25 September) closed with a total of 258 ship visits made across the 10 participating countries. Multinational teams of seafarers, dockers, ITF workers and trade union volunteers carried out the inspections in ports across Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Russia and Sweden.

ITF Maritime Coordinator Steve Cotton commented: “With current conditions it’s never been more important to ensure that seafarers are receiving the wages they need and conditions they deserve. Across the region, teams have been working without stopping to make sure that wherever humanly possible that’s what happens.”

He continued: “What has also been particularly successful is the cross-sectoral reach of this event, with seafarers meeting with dockers, with teams talking to the public and to companies, and with colleagues from different nations visiting and working together in countries right across the region.