NUSI meets IMO General Secretary in Mumbai
October 19, 2012
Mr. Abdulgani Y. Serang, NUSI General Secretary – cum – Treasurer and ITF Seafarers’ Trust trustee represented Indian seafarers in his meeting with Mr. Koji Sekimizu, the General Secretary of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) which took place in Mumbai on 16th October, 2012.
In the meeting with Mr. Koji Sekimizu, the following few points were stressed by Mr. Abdulgani Y. Serang for the benefit of not just the Indian seafarers but also all the seafarers who work under volatile conditions involving great risks to their personal life but who still courageously discharge their professional duties.
· Most importantly the issue of piracy and the resultant problems the seafarers and their families have to undergo.
· Seafarers should be treated as a different type of workforce and extended certain benefits to retain them in this profession and also attract more people into this profession.
· A study should be conducted to extend Income Tax concessions to seafarers throughout the world. Many countries like Denmark, Greece, Sweden, Turkey, Korea, Malaysia, Philippines, Lithuania, Netherlands, Belgium, Norway, Portugal, Nigeria etc give income tax benefits to their citizens who want to become seafarers. This can be done by other countries also including India.
· Despite Resolutions of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) regarding “Continuity of Employment”, 1976, seafarers still do not have permanency in their jobs. They are still contract workers for years together with the same company. Seafarers should be made permanent similar to shore workers.
· The IMO should make it mandatory for ships to carry trainees on board ships. With the increasing competition amongst shipowners, the trend is to restrict manning to the safe manning levels only. Then where will the new seafarers come from?
· The IMO should also make it mandatory for seafarers to be able to access email and internet facilities as a right and not as a favour by the shipping company. Presently the Indian seafarers have this facility wherever there is a NUSI or MUI agreement.
· Similarly Shore Leave should be granted to the seafarer as his right and not as a favour by the port authorities.
In the discussions, Mr. Koji Sekimizu, IMO General Secretary appreciated and assured Mr. Serang that the points raised by NUSI were valid and some of them like issues of piracy, trainees, shore leave are already receiving attention by the IMO. He forcefully indicated that he is a strong supporter of the seafarers who are indeed an important workforce. Together with shipowners, Governments, the ITF and the ILO and other stakeholders, he will work for the maximum welfare of the seafarers.
The IMO General Secretary also stated that it is important to talk and publicize about the benefits of the shipping industry and particularly the seafarers in other non-shipping groups who are not aware of their contribution to the world economy. He has asked NUSI to represent the issues of the seafarers in detail which will be addressed by the IMO Secretariat appropriately.
This important meeting gave NUSI an opportunity to address the issues of the seafarers with the International Maritime Organization (IMO).