Victory for seafarers’ safety as Dutch court sides with unions on container lashing

Unions have secured an important victory in the campaign for seafarers’ safety this week as a Dutch court has ruled that ship managers, ship owners and charterers must honour a clause that prevents seafarers from being assigned dangerous lashing work where professional dock workers are available.

In 2020, the ITF, FNV Havens and Nautilus NL took the case against Marlow Cyprus, Marlow Netherlands and Expert Shipping over their refusal to adhere to the Non-Seafarers’ Work Clause to court in the Netherlands. The companies signed up to the agreement in 2018 and the clause came into force two years later.

The ruling from the Rotterdam District Court means that the companies who employ seafarers on shipowners’ behalf, must ensure that cargo handling must be performed by trained local dock workers where possible, and not given to seafarers as an additional responsibility.

The decision means greater safety for seafarers and also secures jobs for dockers.