ITF News Update

EDITORIAL | Ferry fatalities nearly double in 2023

Perhaps made complacent by a comparatively low death toll in 2022, the global ferry industry has disgraced itself with a near doubling of fatalities in 2023. Tragically, 2024 is already looking worse – much worse. In January 2024, alone, 237 people have been the victims of ten ferry accidents.


Crowley seafarer sues US government over alleged rape by ship steward

Ship manager’s lawyers argue seafarer can only recover damages from the US. A seafarer who alleged that she was raped by a steward on a Crowley-managed vessel has sued the US government as she continues litigation against the Florida maritime conglomerate and her union.


Seamen can land in trouble over Portuguese passports

After Indian passport holders, Seafarers with Indian Continuous Discharge Certificate (CDC) holders run the risk of landing in trouble if they obtain Portuguese passports, cards or nationality. Deputy Director General of Shipping (Crew), Captain (Dr) Daniel Joseph on Saturday was categorical in saying that CDC rules mandate surrender of Indian CDC to the concerned Shipping Master in the event the seafarer acquires nationality or passport of any other country.


No place for harassment in marine industry, says Canadian seafarers union

“Harassment in the workplace is not something we take lightly, and it is an issue that the industry as a whole needs to do a better job at addressing,” says Seafarers’ International Union of Canada president. Canada’s marine industry needs to do a better job addressing workplace harassment and bullying, says Seafarers’ International Union of Canada president Michael Given.


IMO Secretary-General Maps Agenda Calling for Improving Shipping’s Image

A month after officially assuming the role of Secretary-General for the International Maritime Organization, Arsenio Dominguez addressed his vision for the organization as well as the challenges he sees as the priorities for the international shipping agency.


Health risk classification patterns among Filipino seafarers: A 5-year review

During the 2023 SAFETY4SEA Manila Forum, Dr. Christian Angelo P. Lubaton, Medical Director for Holistic Care presented a study by Nordic Medical Clinic between 2018 and 2022, with a participation of 11,831 seafarers. Results revealed a significant proportion of seafarers having higher risk classifications. It also showed that higher risk classes take a longer time to be fit to work.


Female captains tour cruise ship

Three female captains in the Virgin Islands recently got a chance to tour a cruise ship and meet with women officers aboard. When the Celebrity Ascent docked at the Cyril B. Romney Tortola Pier Park on Jan. 17, Staff Captain Maria Gotor hosted VI captains Jonese Samuel, D’Andra Lewis, and Rochelle Lawrence for the tour and lunch, according to the BVI Ports Authority.


Shipping Industry Issues Revised Guidance for Navigating Southern Red Sea

A group of prominent shipping associations have released revised security guidance for navigating the Southern Red Sea and Gulf of Aden in response to a series of attacks by the Iranian-backed Houthis against international shipping from Yemen.


139 fall ill on cruise ship that visited Florida, cause unknwon: CDC

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Over 130 people suffered digestive problems due to an unknown illness on a cruise ship, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A CDC report released Thursday said numerous people aboard the Queen Victoria, a cruise ship run by Cunard Cruise Line, suffered from gastrointestinal disease with diarrhea and vomiting.


Reopening of Ukraine Black Sea ports sees Danube cargo drop from peak

In 2023 Ukrainian trade on the Danube increased by 600% as the country’s seaports were blockaded and shippers sought ways to move cargo into, and out of the war-torn region, but the reopening of Black Sea ports has seen Danube volumes wane.


Crisis responders appeal to help Red Sea seafarers

“We are talking about helping seafarers on board in real situations, real lifetime incidents and we are in contact with them.” Crisis responders from global maritime charity Sailors’ Society are appealing for funds to help them in their work with seafarers caught up in the Red Sea conflict.


Inland cargo ship sinks in port of Hamburg

An inland waterway ship carrying 3,500 litres of diesel and 1,400 tonnes of potassium chloride has sunk in Hamburg. At the time of the incident, the 80-meter-long ship was moored to the quay in Kalikai, one of Hamburg’s most known locations for the export of bulk goods, and it is initially unclear why the ship sank in the Elbe river. The accident happened early on Tuesday.


Should foreign mariners be allowed to work in the U.S. maritime industry?

As U.S. maritime companies struggle to find viable solutions for filling vacant job positions, one idea that has surfaced recently is hiring foreign mariners. The concept of creating a pathway for foreign mariners to enter the U.S. legally to work in the industry and be on track for citizenship has gained some steam in recent months.


Bringing AI to vessel navigation

The attacks by rockets, skiffs, and drones on commercial cargo ships transiting the Red Sea by Houthi rebels in Yemen highlight the security dangers merchant vessels face on the high seas. In response, many, but not all, carriers announced that their vessels would no longer be transiting the area of hostilities, diverting them instead around Africa’s Cape of Good Hope.


Chinese ships get cheaper insurance to navigate Red Sea

Chinese-owned merchant ships are getting hefty discounts on their insurance when sailing through the Red Sea, another sign of how Houthi attacks in the area are punishing the commercial interests of vessels with ties to the west.


ITF congratulate ILA victory in protecting work jurisdiction

The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) welcomes the victory of the International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA) in their fight to protect their work jurisdiction at Ørsted’s offshore wind operations at the Port of New London, Connecticut.


Red Sea attacks: Seafarers’ lives must be protected

There must be a de-escalation of tensions amid the ongoing attacks on international shipping in the Red Sea, the new Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the United Nations agency responsible for regulating shipping, has urged.


Shipping cannot afford current levels of seafarer ill health

Ten thousand seafarers leave the industry every year through preventable ill health according to maritime healthcare provider Vikand with its CEO claiming that in 95% of these cases careers could be extended.


Maritime power shapes the world order – and is undergoing a sea change

Recent attacks on commercial shipping and warships in the Red Sea by Yemen’s Houthi rebels have brought the ocean back to the forefront of international security. Western global leadership was the result of centuries of sea mastery. Controlling the global ocean enables the projection of military power all over the world, as well as securing the free flow of goods at sea.