ITF News Update: 18th to 25th June 2021

Argentina’s Maritime Unions Renew Strikes Demanding COVID Vaccinations | Maritime Executive – 18th June

Argentina’s ports are again paralyzed by the latest in a series of strikes organized by the maritime unions as they seek to pressure the government to prioritize workers in the ports and maritime trades for COVID-19 vaccinations. A total of 16 unions representing the pilots, tug boats, dockworkers, and customs officials, banded together to hold a 24-hour strike on Friday, June 18 repeating their calls on the government to follow through on earlier promises to prioritize their members for vaccinations.


DoTr, AMOSUP, MARINO to build a condotel for seafarers | Manila Times – 18th June

To address the seafarers’ need for temporary accommodation in Manila, the Associated Marine Officers and Seamen’s Union of the Philippines (AMOSUP) have joined hands with the government and the Marino Party List for the construction of a condominium hotel or condotel.


West coast ports feel the heat ahead of China imports surge | Lloyd’s List – 18th June

‘In Long Beach, we expect that the situation in Yantian could result in some new cargo volume fluctuations, with a lull in the next few weeks and a surge building in August,’ says Port of Long Beach deputy executive director Noel Hacegaba

Nerijus Poskus, vice-president of ocean strategy and carrier development for digital freight forwarder Flexport, estimates the congestion in Yantian will take six to eight weeks to clear


IMO needs to resolve its trust issues | Lloyd’s List – 18th June

Lessons should be learned from the vexed exchanged seen inside MEPC this week — the IMO cannot expect external observers and industry to trust a body whose members have a difficult time trusting each other

The geopolitical fault lines are starting to show as the IMO’s climate change debate heads into diplomatic territory that is well outside of shipping’s influence. Division and distrust are hampering progress and the conversations are only going to get more difficult from here on


London-Greek owners slam failure to recognise seafarers’ key role | Seatrade Maritime News – 21st June

London-based Greek shipowners have slammed governments and regulators for failing to recognise the key role seafarers and shipping staff play in ensuring global trade continues in the tumultuous circumstances now being experienced.


Nigeria Gets First Female Tugboat Captain | All Africa – 21st June

She was trained on the Azimuth Stern Drive (ASD) tugboat under the National Seafarers Development Programme (NSDP) floated by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA).


Seafarers Need To Strike, Says Frank Coles | G Captain – 21st June

Last week maritime influencer Lena Göthberg published the 165th episode of her popular Shipping Podcast, and the content was shocking. Her guest was the former CEO of Transas and Wallem Group Frank Coles who, in addition to discussing controversial ideas like nuclear ship propulsion, put forth one particularly radical new idea: organizing a global seafarer strike.


Vaccination of seafarers is critical | Seatrade Maritime News – 21st June

In a recorded address at the opening of CrewConnect Europe Virtual Event IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim said it continued to urge governments to designate seafarers s key workers, which would give them access to priority vaccination.


Guyana checks Winsome ways of Iran-linked tanker | Lloyd’s List – 21st June

Guyana’s flag registry is one of 18 developing countries in Africa, Caribbean and Pacific regions used by flag-hopping owners of tankers engaged in subterfuge shipping

Aframax tanker Winsome has changed names four times and been reflagged in Gabon and Panama since May 2020


Seafarers Protest Loss of Jobs and Ships at Australian Parliament | Maritime Executive – 22nd June

Similar to many of the developed nations of the world, Australia has seen significant declines in the number of ships registered in the country and the employment of Australian citizens on the ships. The Maritime Union of Australia, joined by others from the maritime industries and politicans, staged a protest outside Parliament House calling on the government to take steps to support the maritime industry. The unemployed seafarers are calling for government investment in a strategic fleet of Australian flagged and crewed vessels to move essential goods between the country’s ports.


Piracy on the high seas – seafarers need protection and prayer | The Tablet – 22nd June

Modern-day pirates are nothing like the romantic depictions we are so used to seeing in films and reading about in story books.

Nowadays pirates carry AK-47 rifles and use speed boats to board gas tankers and ships, sometimes hijacking a vessel to steal cargo or to use crew as ransom.


Crewing exec laments lack of global protocol for crew changes | Manila Times – 23rd June

The varying and sometimes conflicting health and safety protocols between the Philippines and the ports of destinations is now the biggest issue saddling the crew change operation in the Port of Manila.


Deal reached on Ever Given, says UK P&I Club | Lloyd’s List – 23rd June

The owner and other insurers are working with the Suez Canal Authority to finalise a settlement agreement ‘as soon as possible’

The UK P&I Club says it has reached an agreement in principle which will lead to the release of Ever Given from the Suez Canal where it has been held since March when its grounding caused a six-day shutdown of the key waterway


Vaccination, Crew Change Remain Top Priorities on Day of the Seafarer | Maritime Executive – 24th June

On June 25, the Day of the Seafarer, the world maritime community turns its attention to the mariners who keep 80-90 percent of global trade moving. Like last year, the day’s focus remains on the challenges that seafarers face due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For shoreside populations in the West, the worst of the public health crisis appears to have passed: vaccines are widely available; infection rates are down; restaurants have reopened; travel restrictions have lifted; and office work has resumed. For seafarers, the picture is not so simple.


Protection of seafarers’ human rights debated by UK parliament | Lloyd’s List – 24th June

Charity Human Rights at Sea welcomed the debate and greater attention being paid to the problem, but said more should be done to enshrine human rights as distinct from labour rights

The UK government faced questions in the House of Lords concerning the crewing crisis, vaccine and internet access for seafarers, and safety of life at sea


UK says non-resident seafarers are eligible for vaccines | Lloyd’s List – 24th June

Resident and non-resident seafarers eligible for vaccines as of June 18

Non-resident seafarers can be vaccinated in the UK after calls in parliament’s House of Lords to make the country an international vaccine hub


Day of the Seafarer is meaningless without vaccines and our rights restored | ITF Global – 25th June

Today is Day of the Seafarer and this year’s theme is ‘a future fair for seafarers’. But there is little point contemplating what a fair future looks like for the world’s seafarers while the injustices of the present so loudly demand our attention -– and action.


Seafarers’ invisibility renders them forgotten | Splash 247 – 25th June

June 25 is the Day of the Seafarer. This is the day designated by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to honour and say thanks to the men and women who risk their lives to ensure that there is no disruption in global trade. Yet, as the countries of the world navigate the Covid-19 global pandemic, one wonders whether this show of gratitude is just empty rhetoric.


Despite the efforts of trade unions and NGOs, seafarer abandonment is on the rise | Equal Times – 25th June

Hundreds of seafarers around the world have found themselves in similar situations. The crew of the MT IBA were famously trapped for 43 months (about three and a half years) off the coast of the United Arab Emirates. The problem is well known in maritime transport: according to the 2006 Maritime Labour Convention (MLC), a seafarer is considered to be abandoned when the shipowner fails to cover the cost of the seafarer’s repatriation, has left the seafarer without support, or has severed their ties with the seafarer including failure to pay wages for a period of at least two months.