ITF News Update 15-19 February 2021

ITF condemns military coup; solidarity with Burmese seafarers | ITF Seafarers – 15th Feb

The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) condemns in the strongest possible terms the attempted military takeover of Myanmar’s fragile democracy currently taking place. The voice of the world’s transport workers also confirms its unbroken commitment and support for Burmese affiliate union, IFOMS.


Update: Amin Shipping trick Onda crew in attempted wage coverup | ITF Seafarers – 15th Feb

The ITF has obtained evidence that the MV Onda crew were pushed to sign wage receipt declarations onboard the vessel in a language they could not read. The wage declarations were in English and the documents said that crew had been paid all their outstanding wages. In reality, the company still owes a number of seafarers thousands of dollars in wages. None of the crew can speak or read in English, so signed the false declarations.


Companies can step up to save seafarers stranded off China | ITF Seafarers – 15th Feb

The crew of the MV Christine Oldendorff have been anchored at Caofeidian in Bohai Bay, near Beijing, since 26 August 2020. Now eight months stranded, with 20 on board for more than 18 months in total: they are desperate to get home to their families.


Four years at sea, now just metres from shore: ‘living hell’ of stranded UAE ship | The Guardian – 15th Feb

For the crew inside the Panama-flagged MT Iba,  however, being grounded on the beach marks another harrowing chapter in  an almost four-year ordeal at sea.

Shipping industry calls on governments for standardised crew change policies Malta Winds – 15th Feb
A standardised global approach to crew changes around quarantines and  Covid-19 testing protocols is required to allow the shipping industry  to keep moving. Competing commercial organisations are starting to come  together to develop testing programmes that will allow COVID-safe  flights to take place until vaccination reaches a critical mass.  However, without government cooperation and involvement, all pieces of  the jigsaw don’t fit together.

Unionists laud association for securing salary increment, boosting welfare of seafarers The Guardian NG – 15th Feb
Members of the Nigerian Merchant Navy Officers and Water Transport  Senior Staff Association (NMNOWTSSA) have applauded its National  President, Bob Yousou and executives for the Collective Bargaining  Agreements (CBA) for improved welfare packages that ensure Nigerian  Seafarers are paid in line with the international best practice.

A high-seas tale of polar adventure, intrigue and shipwreck | Vancouver Sun – 15th Feb
This is a murky, maritime tale of tax havens, flags of convenience,  convoluted multi-party ownership, arcane law, alleged conspiracies, even  terrorism, and a little town in British Columbia.

Angriya, India’s first domestic cruise liner, is helping sailors navigate safely between their homes and port of call | Mumbai Mirror – 15th Feb

Angriya, India’s first domestic cruise liner, that operated on the Mumbai-Goa route before the coronavirus took hold last summer, is now being used for sea travel bubble services in Sri Lanka.


Abandoned crew prepare to head home | Lloyd’s List – 16th Feb

A crew held on board an edible oils tanker in Lebanon are about to head home after being abandoned since March last year. The crew from Azerbaijan went on hunger strike in protest about their working and living conditions on the vessel Captain Nagdaliyev


Lunar new year brings some joy for bulkers stranded in China Lloyd’s List – 16th Feb

Around three panamax and capesize ships that were stranded in Chinese waters since June last year were allowed to discharge Australian coal last week

There are still about 46 bulkers that remain stranded in China’s anchorages with Australian coal because of the political spat, according to Lloyd’s List Intelligence vessel-tracking data. Of those waiting to offload cargoes, there are six panamaxes, 25 post-panamaxes and 15 capesizes


Kidnapped containership crew released after three weeks | Lloyd’s List – 16th Feb

A total of 15 crew were kidnapped and an Azerbaijani crew member was shot dead on January 23. Security sources urged vessels to follow BMP measures amid fears too many are still sailing off west Africa without sufficient protection

Fifteen Turkish hostages from the containership Mozart have been released after three weeks in captivity and will soon be repatriated, the ship’s operator and manager said


Hijacked mothership’s piracy spree ends with nine kidnapped Lloyd’s List – 16th Feb

The Lianpengyu 809 was used to attack three other ships over several days. Gabonese authorities intercepted the ship, but not before nine crew were taken

Pirates have kidnapped nine crew from a Chinese tuna boat which had been hijacked and used as a mothership. They left five crew members to sail to Gabon, where authorities are investigating


New Covid-19 test requirement for seafarers disembarking in Singapore for crew change | The Straits Times – 16th Feb

SINGAPORE – Seafarers getting off ships in Singapore will now need to take a Covid-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test at the port where the ship last stopped and test negative before arriving here.

This new requirement applies to all applications submitted from Monday (Feb 15) for seafarers who wish to disembark their ships here for a crew change, said the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) in a circular issued on the same day.


Seafarer shortages loom if crew change crisis persist, warns MAJ | Seatrade Maritime News – 17th Feb

Rear Admiral (retired) Peter Brady, MAJ director general, highlighted the potential danger to the shipping industry if there is a mass exodus of crew from their sea-going jobs to take up shore-based employment.

“If seafarers are not available to operate the ships, those vessels will simply lay alongside idle. Does the world need that now?”, he challenged, warning that the shipping industry needs to demonstrate to world leaders the vital role crew play in the supply chain.


IMO working group to examine Gulf of Guinea piracy | Lloyd’s List – 17th Feb

IMO pointed to the Mozart case, in which 15 seafarers were kidnapped and one killed, and stressed the importance of BMP protection measures. The International Maritime Organization will form a piracy working group at its Maritime Safety Committee session in May amid ‘deep concern’ about attacks. It adds to growing calls for action on piracy since incidents resumed in October


Crew changes at Singapore port cross 100,000 amid Covid-19 | Seatrade Maritime News – 17th Feb

“Recognising the importance of ensuring that international trade and the flow of supplies into Singapore remain uninterrupted amidst the pandemic, MPA continues to facilitate crew changes for ships of all flags and crew of various nationalities through a ‘safe corridor’. MPA has been working together with the unions, industry, and international partners, on crew change protocols that safeguard both seafarers and the local community,” the MPA stated.


Tycoon’s Downfall Pushes Trapped Seafarers to Hunger Strike | Bloomberg – 17th Feb

When Turkish police arrested shipping magnate Mübariz Mansimov Gurbanoğlu at his Istanbul home one Sunday last March, his legal woes set off a chain of events that have decimated Palmali Shipping, his once-flourishing maritime empire. Now a dozen of its ships sit abandoned in ports around the Mediterranean with nearly 150 mariners stuck on board, many without adequate food and water.


FEATURE: Abandoned Palmali crew are caught in an inhumane trap that Turkey can release | ITF Seafarers – 18th Feb

The humanitarian effort to feed, repatriate and fight for the seafarers’ outstanding wages has been spearheaded by the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) and its inspectors.

This week four seafarers on one ship owned by Mübariz Mansimov Gurbanoğlu’s Palmali shipping company, the Captain Nagdaliyev (IMO 9575307), were freed by Lebanese authorities after the crew took to a hunger strike in an effort to go home. The tanker was arrested in the port of Beirut on May 12, 2020 and when its crew were abandoned without food, fuel and wages for more than 10 months.


Union urges owners to follow MSC’s crew change action in China  | TradeWinds – 18th Feb

The International Transport Workers’ Federation is calling for shipowners to pay the extra cost of repatriating crew that have been stranded in China by the country’s ongoing trade spat with Australia.


Maritime Consortium Launch Crewcare App To Improve Seafarer Well-Being | Hellenic Shipping News – 18th Feb

Marking a significant step forward in seafarer welfare, a group of established maritime entities have joined forces to build a digital platform aimed at improving the emotional well-being of the world’s 1.7 million seafarers.


Eleven new cases of crew abandonment in opening weeks of 2021 Splash 247 – 19th Feb

While this week has seen some hard fought crew abandonment cases come to a merciful close there’s no sign that this terrible shipping scourge is relenting.

Eliza Ader, co-founder of UK-based Periplous, a general-purpose open source research and mapping blog that has been tracking crew abandonment closely in recent months, told Splash that 11 new cases have been recorded in the opening weeks of 2021. Iran, Yemen and the regular crew abandonment hotspot, the United Arab Emirates, top the locations of recent abandonment cases.


IMO launches a year of action for seafarers | Hellenic Shipping News – 19th Feb

The World Maritime Theme for 2021 is dedicated to seafarers, highlighting their central role in the future of shipping.

IMO has chosen to make 2021 a year of action for seafarers, who are facing unprecedented hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic, despite their vital role as key workers for global supply chains. The World Maritime Theme for 2021, “Seafarers: at the core of shipping’s future” seeks to increase the visibility of seafarers by drawing attention to the invaluable role they play now and will continue to play in the future.