Two marine tankers, the Marshall Islands-flagged Front Altair and the Panamanian-flagged Kokuka Courageous, were left abandoned and adrift after what appear to be attacks on the vessels while transiting the Gulf of Oman.
“Luckily the 44 seafarers were rescued, and no lives were lost” said the ITF Seafarers’ Section Chair David Heindel.
Initial information indicates that though one crew member was injured there were no serious casualties.
Investigations are reportedly underway to establish the cause of the explosions.
“We commend all involved in the prompt intervention and rescue of the 44 seafarers, but we have grave concerns over the safety of the ships transiting in this area,” said Heindel
JNG Chairman Captain Koichi Akamine commented, “We are relieved there has been no loss of life. We are quite concerned about these incidents and we’re following the situation closely, however, it would be unwise to come to any premature conclusions before receiving more information on these incidents from reliable sources. In the meantime, we would advise all vessels transiting the Straits of Hormuz and operating there to follow safe transiting procedures, increase vigilance, implement security measures ISPS Level 2 equivalent, report all incidents and take extra care of the crew and cargo.”
A significant amount of the world’s oil and gas is transported on vessels passing through the Strait of Hormuz and the Gulf of Oman. These incidents are the latest escalation of instability in the region following damage to four other tankers in the same area last month.
Heindel concluded, “Our thoughts go out to the seafarers involved in the incidents, and of course their families. We also urge the naval forces to extend their protection to all ships transiting the area and call for a political solution to ensure seafarers and ships’ safe passage.”
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About the IBF
The IBF was formed in 2003 as a mechanism for collective bargaining between maritime employers and maritime unions over the wages and conditions of employment for seafarers serving on foreign flag ships covered by ITF Special Agreements.
Maritime employers are represented by the International Maritime Employers’ Council (IMEC), the International Shipping Employers' Group (ISEG) which incorporates the International Maritime Managers’ Association of Japan (IMMAJ) and the Taiwanese company Evergreen, and the Korean Shipowners' Association.
Together they form the Joint Negotiating Group (JNG) which allows maritime employers to present to the ITF a coordinated view of employers from across the world.
The International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF) is a democratic global union federation of 670 transport workers trade unions representing 18.5 million workers in 147 countries, including maritime affiliates that represent in excess of 600,000 seafarers.
The IBF negotiations include both central negotiations and local negotiations which allow for development of core principles which can then be incorporated into specific local arrangements. This unique approach to pay negotiations is the only example of international collective bargaining.