Convenient flag – cons
Seafarers who have contacted such companies and as a result got onto ships under the “convenient” flag (that is, under the flag of a country where super liberal liberal tax laws apply) actually have problems quite often.
And this is mainly due to the persistent unwillingness of shipowners, especially small ones, to conclude collective agreements with seafarers, according to the requirements of the International Transport Workers Union (ITF), suggesting, first of all, decent wages at sea.
It often happens that before sailing “under the flag”, a sailor is offered to sign an individual hiring contract with the shipowner, where everything seems to be agreed: the amount of payment, terms of work, meals, rights, duties, etc.
There is only one hassle in this beautifully executed document: the contract is not based on our legislation, but on the “flag” country. This means that if a sailor was fooled with a salary – they are delayed in paying – then please go to Belize, Cambodia or Cyprus for trial in the local court …
Bet less than life
In accordance with the agreement concluded by ITF with the International Association of Shipowners, the minimum wage rates for vessels of the “convenient” flag for 2003 are established, according to which, for example, a first-class sailor must earn $ 1350, a ship captain – $ 4250 per month. Today, only a few companies are able to pay salaries equal to or close to these rates. For the most part, these are large companies, the entire fleet of which is transferred to offshore zones or is on bareboat charter.
The remaining shipowners cite a “difficult financial situation” that does not allow them to pay seafarers at ITF rates. These are companies that, as a rule, with 1-2 old steamers, hang the flag of Cambodia, which has recently become fashionable, and operate mainly on flights with Japan, China, Korea (there – wood, metal, back – cars , food, etc.). According to shipowners, there have been few cargoes recently, and freight rates have fallen sharply, which is why they are not able to pay a decent salary … As a result, the average salary of a sailor on ships of such companies is $ 400-500, captain – $ 1-1, 5 thousand, i.e., 3-4 times lower than ITF rates.
“Let’s open the kingstones to get paid” …
However, Ukrainian fishing vessels are now anchored in Luanda, whose crews, recruited from Ukrainians, Russians and the Baltic states, also fought for their rights with operators – the Angolan companies Sonangola and Sermar – for a long time, which was accompanied by all kinds of unpleasant excesses. To date, these crews have been decommissioned and a set of new ones announced … In this connection, the Russian Embassy in the Republic of Angola sent letters to the maritime administrations of Kaliningrad, St. Petersburg and Vladivostok urging them to prevent the recruitment of Russian citizens to Ukrainian vessels under operational control company “Sermar” (“Sermar Ltd”).
“There are various civilized ways to resolve conflicts between employers and sailors, which most often arise due to non-payment of salaries,” says Yuri Kurnakov. – For example, the ITF, which includes the RPSM, holds universal campaigns twice a year to boycott ships under the “convenient” flag, which directly infringe on the rights and interests of seafarers, especially material ones. However, a boycott to the owner or operator of a “problematic” vessel can be announced anytime, anywhere, best when calling at any port in the world, including the Russian one.
A very effective form of boycott is the obstruction by the crew of the loading and unloading vessels. And all this legally! You need to know that Russian law finally introduced a clause stating that salary is a pledge of the sea. Therefore, if it is not paid on time, then you can go to the arbitration court to demand the arrest of the vessel with a view to selling it in order to fully repay the salary debt. ”