The two ships – Star Masaya (Marshall Islands Pavilion, IMO 9166663) and SDL Maya (Panama Flag, IMO 9384784) – are under flags of convenience, but the crew of one of them is protected by the collective agreement approved by the International Transport Workers` Federation (ITF), and not the crew of other vessels. Recently, inspectors from the SUR Eastern Territorial Organization visited these vessels. Once again, they ensured that any vessel flying the flag of convenience was subject to a fair collective agreement. This is the legally binding document that binds the employer to the collective agreement (CBA) approved by the ITF. It indicates which CBA applies, there are the details of the covered ship and there is the data that the agreement is valid for /bis. It states that the obligations of shipowners and the right of ITF representatives to access the vessel and verify compliance with the agreement are respected. We would like to add that in countries with high tax rates, shipowners use flags of convenience as a kind of refuge, because some open ship registries, if at all, have incomparably low mandatory payments. Very often, sailors operating on ships flying flags of convenience have no social rights or guarantees, although they are responsible for many tasks. That is why the International Transport Workers` Federation and its affiliated unions, including SUR, are fighting flags of convenience to cover all these vessels through collective agreements. “We visited this ship in 2017, there was no collective agreement on board at that time,” said Nikolai Soukhanov.
On that date, SUR FETO sent a communication to the shipowner, which led to negotiations between the company and the Union of Seamens (JSU) and signed the collective agreement approved by the ITF. The ITF TCC agreement is the most common type of ITF agreement. Most affiliated unions use the UNIFORM ITF TCC agreement. There are several other types of CBT agreements, all approved ITFs, that have been adopted by various affiliated unions around the world. Although they may vary slightly (mainly due to the requirements of their national legislation), they are all based on the TCC uniform itf and meet the minimum standards set by the ITF. Subsequently, seafarers covered by the collective agreement were better informed of their rights and guarantees. For example, all crew members are now aware of the amount of disability or death insurance – $104,000. The sailors confirm that the Japanese shipowner strictly respects the terms of the agreement.
In addition, after the signing of the agreement, the interests of the Mayan crew of SDL are now represented and secured by the largest seafarers` union in the Asia-Pacific region, the ITF-affiliated JSU. During this visit the m/v Star Masaya was under the load of coal in the port of Nakhodka, – Nikolai Sukhanov, the president of the SUR Far Eastern Territorial Organization said. Although crew salaries are good – the base rate for ab and captain is USD 1,364 and 9,360 DOLLARS respectively, Filipino, Greek and Romanian crew members do not have guarantees of decent terms of employment due to a lack of collective agreement on board. Previously, m/v Star Masaya was subject to the collective agreement, but the document expired on March 31, 2019. The Greek company Sitinas Shipping Co has not renewed the contract. The absence of a collective agreement between the union and the employer means a lack of control and other instruments that protect the interests of the crew members.