The International Transport Workers’ Federation has welcomed progress made at the ILO this month on the issue of facilitating shore leave and the movement of seafarers joining or leaving vessels.
At the ILO in Geneva a tripartite meeting of employers, trade unions and governments agreed a common approach to improving ILO Convention 185 on seafarers’ identity documents, in order to improve the welfare of seafarers, while at the same time assisting nations maintain their security.
The recommendations now pass to the ILO governing body for study and a decision on their implementation.
ITF seafarers’ section chair David Heindel explained: “ILO 185 has two key aims: to uphold security and allow the deserved and necessary passage of seafarers on shore leave and in transit. However, its take up has been underwhelming. These latest recommendations, which would bring seafarers’ identity documents in line with e-passports, should help persuade states that ratification is sensible and in everyone’s best interests.”
He continued: “We hope that the major port and transit states will join us in reassuring the labour supplying states that their investment in seafarers’ identity document technology will not be wasted, and the original ideals of the convention will be met.”
A statement from the Chamber of Shipping in support of the recommendations can be seen at www.ics-shipping.org/news/press-releases/2015/02/09/ics-hopes-for-progress-on-facilitation-of-shore-leave-and-movement-of-seafarers
Domestic marine surveyors will now be accredited under the Domestic Surveyor Accreditation Scheme, a national system run by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority.
AMSA standards manager Adam Brancher said the scheme, which came into effect on January 2, would ensure people are competent to conduct and provide survey reports for domestic commercial vessels under the Marine Safety (Domestic Commercial Vessel) National Law Act 2012 across Australia.
“For the first time in Australia, domestic commercial vessel surveyors will now operate under a single consistent arrangement,” Mr Brancher said.
The scheme applies to government and non-government accredited marine surveyors.
Existing government and private marine surveyors need to submit their applications before December 31, 2015 for their current attestation to be recognised under the new scheme.
“We encourage surveyors to submit their applications as soon as possible,” Mr Brancher said.
New government and private marine surveyors are required to complete applications for accreditation and will be assessed by AMSA under the scheme.
Mr Brancher said applications would be assessed on merit, taking into account appropriate qualifications, capabilities and experience.
AMSA consulted extensively with various state and territory maritime agencies and representative bodies ahead of the scheme’s implementation.
A series of information sessions will be held in Cairns on February 10, Noosa on February 11 and the Gold Coast on February 13.
To register surveyors can visit www.amsa.gov.au/about-amsa/recent-events/2015/jan-dsas/index.asp
Further information on the scheme and how to make an application is available here: http://www.amsa.gov.au/domestic/surveyors-manual/
Indonesian flagged container ship Red Rover was issued with a direction not to enter or use any port in Australia for 12 months after being detained by AMSA three times since September 2014.
The most recent detention was on 28 January 2015 in Fremantle, Western Australia.
All three detentions identified failings in the vessel’s Safety Management System, including a lack of effective passage planning and failure to use appropriate charts and publications.
This is the third vessel operated by PT Meratus Line (Company Number 0313623) which has been banned from accessing Australian ports for a period of time. All three of these vessels repeatedly demonstrated they were not operating or being managed to meet applicable standards despite repeated advice by AMSA to take action to improve performance.
AMSA banned the MV Meratus Sangatta (IMO 9116797) earlier this month and the Territory Trader (IMO 8812899) in November last year, from entering or using any port in Australia for three months.
AMSA Chief Executive Officer, Mick Kinley, said Australia is a signatory to the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and International Labour Organization (ILO) conventions and AMSA takes its responsibilities seriously to ensure compliance with all international safety conventions.
“The unsafe operation of vessels poses an unacceptable risk to seafarers and the environment and AMSA treats any breaches of international shipping standards with the greatest of seriousness,” Mr Kinley said.
“A lack of effective passage planning is extremely unsafe, particularly in areas like the Western Australia coastline. Like the Great Barrier Reef, this coastline has environmentally sensitive areas such as Ningaloo Reef and Houtman Abrolhos Islands, with Ningaloo Reef containing International Maritime Organization endorsed ‘Area to be Avoided’ ship routing measures.
“The PT Meratus Line has shown a disregard for international standards through repeated breaches and all ships operated by this company are now subject to inspections at every port call,” he said.
The Red Rover (IMO9481673) is the fourth vessel to be banned from Australian ports under the revised Navigation Act which came into effect in July 2013.
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority commenced its Search and Rescue (SAR) Capability Partnership Program this week with counterpart agencies in Sri Lanka, the Maldives and Mauritius.
This program is being delivered as part of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s Government Partnerships for Development program, which provides funds to eligible Australian public sector organisations to support economic growth and poverty alleviation in developing countries in the Indian Ocean, Asia and Pacific Regions.
AMSA will receive a total of $2.6 million in funding over three years to work in cooperation with the three partner countries and strengthen their national SAR services. The objective is to develop their capability to provide more effective response to maritime and aviation distress situations within their SAR areas and enhance SAR capability in some of the most remote parts of the Indian Ocean region.
AMSA Chief Executive Officer Mick Kinley said these three countries bordered Australia’s search and rescue region in the Indian Ocean.
“Search and rescue cooperation in this remote and expansive part of the world is of paramount importance,” he said.
Mr Kinley said AMSA staff will be in Mauritius, the Maldives and Sri Lanka this week to commence the capability development program.
“This program will include components of training in search and rescue systems, a staff exchange program to Australia, joint exercises and workshops, and development and installation of key search and rescue systems that are tailored to best meet each individual country’s needs,” Mr Kinley said.
“Technical experts from the International Civil Aviation Authority Organization and the International Maritime Organization will also be involved to ensure that requirements of international standards and conventions are met in line with the Global Maritime Distress Safety System,” he said.
By the end of the program in 2017, it is expected that national and regional aviation and maritime search and rescue capability will be strengthened. Partner countries will also have improved cooperation and greater ability to communicate for search and rescue, along with improved systems to conduct timely and effective search and rescue operations across the region.
MO Secretary-General Koji Sekimizu has launched this year’s World Maritime Day theme, “Maritime education and training”, at World Maritime University (WMU) in Malmö, Sweden.
“Effective standards of training remain the bedrock of a safe and secure shipping industry, which needs to preserve the quality, practical skills and competence of qualified human resources,” Mr. Sekimizu said.
Adding that the 2015 World Maritime Day theme provided the opportunity to highlight the importance to everybody, not just within the shipping industry, of there being sufficient quantity and quality maritime education and training available to meet the sector’s needs, now and into the future.
“The 1978 STCW Convention and Code, as amended, has set the international benchmark for the training and education of seafarers. While compliance with its standards is essential for serving on board ships, the skills and competence of seafarers, and indeed, the human element ashore, can only be adequately underpinned, updated and maintained through effective maritime education and training,” he added.
Addressing staff and the class of 2015 post-graduate students, who have begun their first semester at WMU, Mr. Sekimizu said that maritime education and training was essential for the long-term sustainability of the sector, both at sea and on-shore, and that the university was a cornerstone of global maritime education and training and a vital and integral part of the IMO family.
“At IMO, we are unique among UN agencies to have two affiliated educational institutions – the World Maritime University and the International Maritime Law Institute (in Malta). We are very proud of these and of the many graduates they have produced who now hold positions of responsibility and influence within the maritime community,” he said.
Without a quality labour force, motivated, trained and skilled to the appropriate international standards, the maritime industry cannot thrive. Not only that, but all the many advances that have been made, in terms of safety and environmental impact, are at risk if those at the “sharp end” are unable to implement them properly.
While seafarer training falls to training institutions recognized and authorised by national authorities to meet STCW standards, IMO as an organization supports skills-based training events and the sharing of technical knowledge, through national and regional Integrated Technical Cooperation Programme (ITCP) training events and workshops, which provide short up-grading courses, based typically on the IMO Model Courses.
On another level, the World Maritime University and the IMO International Maritime Law Institute are at the forefront of IMO’s capacity-building strategy, supporting post-graduate training in order to maintain a cadre of high level managers, policy makers and other key personnel.
While in Malmö, Mr. Sekimizu also made a site visit to the future home of WMU in Tornhuset, the centrally located, historic harbor master’s building that is being enhanced by a dramatic new addition designed by renowned architect Kim Utzon in collaboration with Tyrone Cobcroft of Terrior Architects (Australia). The new building will be inaugurated in May 2015.
World Maritime Day
The World Maritime Day theme provides a focus for year-round activities while the day itself is celebrated at IMO Headquarters and around the world in the last week of September. Since 2005, a formal parallel event has also been held, hosted by an IMO Member State.
In 2015 the Parallel Event will be held in Japan.
A general cargo vessel experiencing mechanical issues near the Great Barrier Reef has been towed to safety to Gladstone after a co-ordinated response from the Australian Maritime Safety Authority.
Antigua and Barbuda flagged general cargo vessel, Thor Commander, reported on Sunday (11 January) it had damaged its main engine.
The vessel was drifting approximately 31km north-east of Perkins Reef in the Swains Reefs group, about 379km north-east of Gladstone.On Tuesday morning, a towline was established between the disabled vessel and the tug Smit Leopard from Gladstone.
AMSA directed the owners and Master of Thor Commander under the Protection of the Sea (Powers of Intervention) Act 1981 to accept a tow to prevent it drifting further.
Additionally, a direction was issued on Monday to the Master of the Xinfa Hai to engage in a towage operation and hold Thor Commander until the arrival of the tug.
AMSA used these powers to prevent potential maritime casualties and harm to the marine environment.
Queensland police vessel Lyle M Hoey also diverted and assisted in establishing the towline between the two merchant ships.
The Thor Commander arrived safely in Gladstone at 7.00am on Thursday.
Teams of International Transport Worker's Federation (ITF) inspectors, along with dockers’ and seafarers’ union members, will begin the first East Asian maritime action week of 2015 on Monday across ports in Japan, Korea, Russia and Taiwan.
The action week will run from 26 to 30 January.
The IFT teams will check and enforce decent pay and working conditions onboard vessels. In Japan a rally will also be held at the Kotoku Kaiun company, over its refusal to engage in dialogue with union representatives. Around 700 unions representing over 4.5 million transport workers from some 150 countries are members of the ITF. It is one of several Global Federation Unions allied with the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC).
The Maritime Union of Australia has questioned why the Government would consider relaxing immigration rules while Australian unemployment was at a 12 year high.
MUA National Secretary Paddy Crumlin said the introduction of the short-term mobility visa was a further indication that the Abbott Government cared little for Australian workers.
“The Abbott Government has opened the floodgates on a number of fronts already, in some instances migrants wanting to work in Australia don’t need to apply for a visa at all,” Mr Crumlin said referring to the lack of visa requirement for people working in the offshore industry that was regulated last year.
In the short time the Coalition Government has been in power it has proposed and introduced a handful of legislation and regulatory changes to allow employers easy access to cheap foreign workers. Examples include the introduction of designated area migration agreements for places like Darwin, to the recent free trade agreements that allow foreign companies to bring in their own overseas workforce.
“Unemployment is at 6.3 per cent, 15 per cent of young people are out-of-work and those figures are set to increase if current projections about the Australian economy are anything to go by,” he said.
“I understand there are times when skills shortages have to be filled by overseas labour, but now is clearly not the time.
“The fact we have more than 500 ready-to-work seafarers registered with the union at the same time the Government is allowing employers unfettered access to foreign seafarers tells me something is wrong with the current system and if anything regulation needs to be tightened.”
See more at: http://www.mua.org.au/
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority has issued a direction to Indonesian flagged multi-purpose ship MV Meratus Sangatta (IMO 9116797) not to enter or use any port in Australia for three months.
The ship has been detained three times since November 2012 and twice since November 2014. As a result it will not be allowed to re-enter Australian ports until April 6, 2015.
MV Meratus Sangatta was detained in Port Alma, Queensland on January 2 despite AMSA urging the ship’s operator, PT. Meratus Line, to improve its performance following the banning of another of its vessels, Territory Trader, in Cairns in November last year.
AMSA Chief Executive Officer Mick Kinley said a complaint was received in accordance with the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) ahead of an inspection of the ship last week.
“The recent detention found numerous failings in compliance with the MLC, which place the welfare of seafarers at risk,” Mr Kinley said.
“The more serious of these deficiencies included not having enough food and potable water for the next voyage, defective and insufficient refrigerated storage to safely store fresh food, defective laundry, sanitary and cooking facilities, as well as expired Seafarer Employment Agreements (SEA).
“AMSA, in line with its international obligations, treats any breaches of the MLC with the greatest of seriousness to ensure seafarer welfare and safety, and to protect Australia’s marine environment.”
Mr Kinley said ships operated by PT. Meratus Line would now be subject to inspections at every port call.
The vessel was required to rectify deficiencies identified during the inspection before it was released from detention from Port Alma.
The vessel is the third to be banned from Australian ports under the revised Navigation Act which came into effect in July 2013.
AIMS able to provide ISO endorsement to members
Created on Wednesday, 16 April 2014
AIMS underwent a successful ISO 9001:2008 audit on 9 April and is now fully certified to provide training and assessment services, design and development and member advocacy.
The Certification is a great success for AIMS as an organisation and will provide sound governance and management procedures for the future as well as significant benefit to members.
The new certification will allow AIMS to provide endorsement to members as being ISO 9001: compliant through the 2nd or 3rd party endorsement process. The proposed marine surveyor accreditation scheme requires surveyors applying for accreditation to provide evidence of complying with the standard or its equivalent. Although AMSA are yet to provide any information on ‘equivalence’ AIMS has pushed successfully for AMSA to accept endorsements in the application process.
Apart from the surveyor accreditation requirements ISO 9001 is required under a wide range of tender applications for Government and private tenders and AIMS will now be able to assist members to achieve the certification.
AIMS is yet to fully cost the endorsement process but is in negotiations with the certifier to develop and provide a very cost effective ISO 9001: certification or endorsement to all AIMS members. We expect to be able to provide these services to members by mid June – well before the marine surveyor application process commences. Announcements on costs, procedures and how to apply will be provided on the website over the next few weeks.
All enquiries regarding the ISO accreditation requirements can be directed to Susan Hull at email@example.com.
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