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22 June 2021 The on-line newspaper devoted to the world of transports 12:54 GMT+2

November 16, 2020

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World Maritime University denounces the frequent alteration of the registers of seafarers' working hours

The one regulated by international conventions - underlines a search -- it's a system that, if it turns out to be good on paper, masks, on the other hand, tacit collusive practices that have an impact negative about their effectiveness

It seems self-evident, yet hardly anyone wonders why, since there are rules that require the authorities of the flag States to verify that each ship complies with the requirements of international conventions establishing the duration of work on board ships, in these months there is no a surge in blockades in the ports of those ships that are not in rule with these regulations.

Yet, in these times characterized by the spread at the level of covid-19 pandemic that has led to the imposition of mobility restrictions that have caused significant difficulty in operating crew changes, many ships violate these rules. Since every month there are about 100,000 seafarers who have to move, often crossing borders, to reach their ships or to leave them, the effects of the crisis health care - according to the latest estimates of the main organizations international shipping companies - have meant that 400,000 seafarers are still on board their ships despite their period of service for weeks or months already entirely or cannot begin their boarding period.

We are not aware that, in the world, any ship has been stopped for this specific reason. Authority of flag States, governments and shipowners are aware of the problem. Shipowners - at least Their! - have repeatedly raised the matter. The authorities flag States, which should enforce these rules, if they stop the ships they do it for other reasons and these don't deign them of the least attention. Governments, except for some of a nation asian maritime, they don't care about it and, if solicited, they make merchant ears.

Which of these three actors on stage is the culprit? Second research conducted by researchers at the World Maritime University, there is no doubt: the shipowners are rei, with the complicity authorities of the flag States. The latest survey, according to WMU researchers, it only confirms the results of their previous research that highlighted the irregularities in registering the state of service of seafarers on board the ship from the time of work done.

According to WMU researchers, the authorities of the flag are corree as they do not always comply with their responsibility by not ensuring that shipowners respond to their own.

The World Maritime University, as "judge investigator", acknowledges, however, a mitigating factor to the flag States, a role that in Italy is assigned to the Corps of Captaincies of Porto - Coast Guard. According to WMU researchers, in fact, the fear of negative consequences caused by the failure to overcome inspections by the authorities and the consequent creation of problems to shipping companies would go beyond the obligation to enforce international regulations. That's how it's said this doesn't seem at all a mitigating factor, but an accusation of complicity in the manipulation of documents, alteration that - say the researchers - is known to all stakeholders, but differently perceived: the research explains that if the seafarers or former seafarers testify unequivocally that these registers are frequently falsified, other stakeholders who don't have browsing experience don't seem to recognize the extent of the problem.

In the conclusions, wmu's research is about a system, the one regulated by international conventions, which if it turns out good on paper, masks instead tacit collusive practices that have a negative impact on their effectiveness. To some extent - specifies the survey - all maritime stakeholders are aware of the existence of a "culture of accommodation".

Among the actors involved, the research also mentions the seafarers, as they would tacitly allow such a "practice" to manipulation of the documentation takes place, fearing that otherwise their professionalism may be questioned and that damages the evaluation of their work.

However, if the WMU investigating judge's investigation were to lead to a trial, you don't see why, in that area, seafarers should not be considered as Victims. Nothing but collusion.

Bruno Bellio

Salerno Container Terminal

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