Asia-Pacific seafarers say further action on piracy and national regulation crucial
Seafarer trade unionists from across the Asia-Pacific region will meet in Jakarta from 11-14 June to discuss plans on piracy, cabotage, and improving standards for fisheries workers.
ITF Seafarers and Fisheries Section Secretary Jon Whitlow commented: The ITF continues to work well with government and the maritime industry to eradicate dangers for seafarers.
Although piracy in the Indian Ocean remains a problem, with many seafarers being help captive for months one end, the joint Naval Forces and Maritime Industry Committee has resulted in a better co-ordination and exchange of information. Despite limited resources, it has improved the safety of seafarers.
The global economic crisis makes the event particularly important this year, with unionists concerned over how market conditions in maritime sector is affecting safety and job security. This highlights the importance of cabotage, a national regulatory framework with clear and enforceable rules.
Hanafi Rustandi, President of Kesatung Pelaut Indonesia (KPI) commented: Cabotage is an extremely sensitive issue in the Asia Pacific region. There have been far too many safety incidents due to lax legislation. The time has come to invigorate the role of national administrations and apply clear rules to operators who have sought to exploit existing ambiguity in order to lower safety and employment standards.
Improved regulation is also crucial for the fisheries sector, wherefishing and food processing unionists are working together to improve standards across the supply chain. The recent decision of the New Zealand government to reflag foreign fishing vessels has highlighted how grave problems of labour rights abuses and safety in the industry have become, and ITF unions will be discussing the next steps in their joint campaign with the IUF (International Union of Food Workers).
The conference will be attended by ITF affiliated unions from Australia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, and Taiwan.