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24 January 2021 The on-line newspaper devoted to the world of transports 03:52 GMT+1

December 18, 2020

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ICS and ITF, ilo's complaint accusing governments of that they have not fulfilled their obligations to seafarers

Mattioli (Confitarma): a formal recognition of the seafarers as essential workers on the part of Italy could be useful also in view of the vaccination campaign

The Shipowners' Association International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) and the international transport workers' trade union organization Federation (ITF) stressed the historical nature of the decision of the Committee of Experts in recent days International Labour Organisation (ILO) which points out that during the Covid-19 pandemic, governments that have not fulfilled their obligations towards seafarers under the international law.

ICS and ITF noted that this is the first this type, with which twenty eminent jurists found that governments have failed to enforce minimum standards for the protection of the rights of seafarers, as established by the international law under the Labour Convention (MLC) 2006. This - ICS and ITF recalled - includes fundamental rights such as access to repatriation, annual leave and ground holidays.

Pointing out that the conclusions follow the comments presented by the International Transport Workers' Federation and by the International Chamber of Shipping, the Secretary-General of the ITF, Stephen Cotton, and the Secretary-General of the ICS, Guy Platten recalled that "governments have been for months to address the crisis of crew changes and now they've been told they have to act to help the hundreds of thousands of seafarers still on board the ships because of the illegal actions of the Member States.'

"This judgment- noted Cotton and Platten - clearly states that it is legally and morally wrong that countries continue to expect seafarers to work indefinitely, providing the world with food, medicine and vital supplies, while depriving them of their rights fundamental values of seafarers, workers and human beings. This historical judgment is a clear claim of what that the seafarers' unions and shipowners have stated in the the last nine months.'

"This judgment," they added, "clarifies that all governments must comply with international law and recognize seafarers as essential workers, with Practices. This means allowing seafarers to get off ports for medical care. It means allowing seafarers to reach an airport to get home when their contracts are finished. And it means letting the crews who have to them replace cross the border of a country in order to arrive to the ships waiting for them without having to confront a mountain of bureaucracy. To date - Cotton and Platten recalled - only 46 countries have classified seafarers as key workers, which it is simply not far from sufficient.'

Mario Mattioli, President of the Italian Confederation Shipowners, an association that adheres to the ICS, pointed out that the organization it represents fully shares what it says ICS and ITF and in turn strongly calls on the Italian Government to recognise seafarers as key workers. "We are aware and grateful - said Mattioli - for the fact that in recent months the competent ministries, with the General Command of the Corps of Captaincies of Porto, have shown great attention to the problems of crew changes and that, on Italian territory, the rights of seafarers have been fully respected. However a formal recognition by our country of seafarers as essential workers could also be useful for their necessary inclusion among the categories of subjects that must have priority in the imminent launch of the vaccination against Covid. It is an important signal to give only to the entire international maritime community but especially to seafarers on board our ships who for months have not they manage to return to their families."

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