Association de citoyens qui défendent l'environnement maritime

 

 

Landerneau 24th December 2017

 

On the 22nd December 2017 MOR GLAZ Association, the Western Sailors CGT union

and the ITF Internation Transport Workers Union inspector, Laure TALLONEAU,

à gauche à droite: Christian BUCHER...Jean-Paul HELLEQUIN

et

Laure TALLONNEAU Inspectrice ITF (International Transport Worker's Fédération),

have chosen to meet all the Filipino sailors embarked on board the cargo ship "VITAKOSMOS" docked in the port of Brest. We wanted to show our solidarity, our sympathy, in order to better defend the seafarers' social cause, even though they are foreign nationals! We reminded those journalists present, that this sailor's testimony could have been from the 1970's. A forceful return to maritime social complacency, condemned by several important maritime actors for obvious moral reasons, competition and likewise.

The Maltese state, which violates all International Labour Conventions by allowing a Greek "pseudo-shipowner" to work Filipino sailors 12 hours a day (more if necessary) for salaries a third less than International agreements, and than those paid in the Philippines. On the 21st of this month, a Maltese flag state representative was on board the "VITAKOSMOS". He recommended to the "rogue-shipowner" to increase the salaries, they refused, an exceptional bonus of 75 to 200 USD was given in cash. To buy their silence, indicated our contact sailor.

The ship's crew consists of 20 Filipino sailors, these sailors are recruited by the Manning company "INTERORIENT MARITIME ENTREPRISE" based in the Philippines. The ship's charterer the group BUNGE based in the Netherlands, is part of the CARGILL group, committed to helping the world thrive (they say)! The "rogue-shipowner" of this ship is Greek, their 7 ships are owned by the company "VITA MANAGEMENT SA" and all the sailors are employed under the same conditions, paid a third less than International Commitments.

This is why the ITF International Transport Workers Union inspector, Laure TALLONEAU, the Western Sailors CGT union and MOR GLAZ Association decided to publicise this situation, in order that this "rogue-shipowner's" ships are no longer chartered and boycotted by professional people engaged in maritime transport. The ship's sailor who agreed to meet us and explain his position and that of his colleagues , deserves the greatest respect!

Maritime complacency has undoubtedly many rosy days ahead with such negative attitudes toward seafarers! Such behaviour which questions all the agreements protecting seafarers, especially the poorest, will be trampled on by those without scruples, with no morale attitude towards seafarers from poor countries. Their social situation developing any positive change is quite compromised with such shameful and scandalous behaviour. Without social rules, competition could become even harsher, seafarers being pitted against each other by an aggressive competition, social conditions will suffer, even for those who already have precarious labour conditions or otherwise. Others will be tempted in a notoriously closed world that of maritime transport, to obtain all sorts of exceptions: vigilance is required.

By accepting to give this exception, Malta has just crossed a new line in the exploitation of the lowest paid seafarers! Professional ship charterers must beware of badly behaved "rogue-shipowners" and react. For having such behaviour the "VITAKOSMOS" ship was boycotted twice by dockers and the ITF in Rotterdam. For its part, the MOR GLAZ association will circulate the information as long as this "rogue-shipowner" does not apply the standards for their seafarers (check-out the MOR GLAZ website www.morglaz.org)

For the MOR GLAZ Association Jean-Paul HELLEQUIN President

Translation T. J. and M-L. Davies