Maritime Union National Secretary Joe Fleetwood says the ongoing and regular accidents in the port sector showed “systemic and deep rooted problems” that needed to be brought into the open.
A Port of Lyttelton worker suffered a broken arm on Tuesday 3 March 2015 after a fall aboard a vessel.
Two C3 employees in the Port of Timaru were taken to hospital after an incident aboard a container vessel on the early morning of Wednesday (4 March 2015).
One of the workers was transferred to Christchurch hospital with serious back injuries.
In both cases, the workers were Maritime Union members.
Mr Fleetwood says he was concerned other incidents were happening in ports but had gone under a “cone of silence.”
He says the relevant Government agencies and port companies should be being proactive about notifying all interested parties immediately as health and safety incidents occurred, including unions and media.
In some cases, such as the Port of Tauranga last year, a worker had suffered fatal injuries but many workers in the port were unaware of the incident.
It took days for the full details to emerge after media inquiries to the employer were left unanswered and the port company tried to distance itself.
“There seems to be a reluctance to front up when incidents happen. It’s almost as it there is an attitude that the problem is the employers and port companies looking bad.”
“The real problem is that maritime workers are being maimed or killed.”
Mr Fleetwood says that port companies had an overall responsibility of what happened in the port, and had a duty of care to all workers in their port, not just those directly employed.
He says contracting out, casualization, irregular and long shifts, reduced manning, and increasing pressure for speed up of work were all contributing to the crisis in port safety.
The ITF Women's Department is calling for women to participate in a survey that is designed to raise awareness amongst women seafarers about the general health and well being at sea.
The survey follows on from the Rapid Health Needs Questionnaire (pilot study) which was distributed in July 2014.
Please note that all data collected is fully confidential and has been devised by the International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF), Seamen's Hospital Society (SHS), International Maritime Health Association (IMHA) and International Seafarers' Welfare and Assistance Network (ISWAN).
The survey can be completed online at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/CRK9PZH
This survey is aimed at women seafarers only and all responses are anonymous.
A joint operation between the AFP and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority has resulted in a ship’s master being charged with failing to take on a pilot prior to navigating the Great Barrier Reef.
It was alleged in court that on the 1st of January 2015 the master of the ‘China Steel Developer’ attempted to depart Australian waters through Hydrographers Passage, a compulsory pilotage area of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, without a pilot on board.
On Saturday 14 February 2015, AFP officers and investigators from GBRMPA met the China Steel Developer soon after it docked in the Port of Newcastle.
A 66-year-old Taiwanese national was arrested and charged with:
Being the master of a ship that navigates without a pilot in the compulsory pilot area of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, contrary to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Act 1975 (Cth)
GBRMPA General Manager Andrew Skeat said all shipping companies should heed the rules on the use of compulsory pilots.
“For certain sections of the Great Barrier Reef and for particular types of vessels, the use of pilots is mandatory because they greatly enhance protection of animals, habitats and sensitive areas of the Marine Park, including coral reefs,” Mr Skeat said.
“The Marine Park is one of the most regulated shipping areas in the world, with compulsory pilots forming one aspect of a comprehensive system that also includes the use of designated shipping areas, vessel traffic monitoring, and mandatory vessel reporting.
“I’m pleased to see the matter was quickly identified and dealt with by all the relevant authorities, ensuring the vessel had not travelled far into the compulsory pilotage area.
“The potential environmental, economic and social consequences could have been severe if an unescorted voyage had gone wrong.
“We would urge all commercial shipping companies to abide by the rules and understand they’re designed to safeguard a critical ecosystem.”
The Great Barrier Reef and Torres Strait Vessel Traffic (REEFVTS) in Townsville detected the ship in the compulsory pilotage area and took action to stop the ship travelling further.
REEFVTS is a joint service operated by Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) and the Maritime Safety Queensland.
China Steel Developer returned to the pilot boarding area before leaving Australian waters via Hydrographers Passage, with a pilot onboard.
“This shows the vital role of the REEFVTS in detecting the ship and ensuring it did not navigate through this compulsory pilotage area without a pilot onboard, as required,” AMSA Chief Executive Officer Mick Kinley said.
AFP Manager Crime Operations, Commander Jennifer Hurst said the AFP regularly works with partner agencies in cases such as this.
“The protection of nationally significant assets such as the Great Barrier Reef is a matter that the AFP takes seriously. We are pleased that this joint investigation has resulted in today’s outcome,” said Commander Hurst.
The matter was heard in the Newcastle local court today (16 February 2015) and will be back in court tomorrow (17 February) for sentencing.
The maximum penalty for this offence is a fine of $85,000.
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).
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