Flag of convenience of Liberia makes it possible for the Greek shipowner to save on seafarers' wages

Today, Inspectors of the Far Eastern Territorial Organization of the Seafarers Union of Russia (FETO SUR) visited the m/v ship Trinity I at the coal terminal of the Vostochniy port. 

The bulk carrier (IMO 9527154/93280-dwt/2010) is flying the flag of Liberia, which is a Flag of Convenience (FOC). The vessel is manned entirely by Filipino seafarers recruited through a government crewing agency in Manila. Trinity I, owned by Greek company Bursa Ocean ways Inc (operated by Eva lend Shipping Co SA - based in Athens), has no collective agreement on board. The salary of an AB Seaman is $1,168 (the basic rate is $658), and a captain's salary is $9,100.

According to Nikolay Sukhanov, FETO SUR Chairman, insurance certificates required by the Maritime Labour Convention are available on board Trinity I, and the captain is a member of the trade union AMOSUP.

The FETO SUR representatives handed over the crew trade union's journals and books to learn more about flags of convenience and why the Greek shipowner opted for the flag of Liberia. 

A flag of convenience ship is one that flies the flag of a country other than the country of ownership. A characteristic feature of the legislation of flag of convenience countries is that they do not regulate important issues of crew recruitment in any way and do not offer any robust control system, Nikolay Sukhanov, FETO SUR Chairman, told the Filipino seafarers. Since ensuring the welfare of the crew cannot be a source of income for a flag of convenience country, it is not surprising that such countries do not provide for the creation of departments that would monitor the terms of employment, as required by their national legislation. In the absence of control by the flag state, nothing prevents shipowners from establishing their own rules and regulations.

Besides, the crew members were explained that the appropriate requirements, jointly developed and adopted by maritime trade unions of different countries, have been established and are in force for shipowners using flags of convenience.

According to these rules, if a shipowner uses a flag of convenience, he must pay a salary of at least $1,836 to an AB Seaman, and the insured amount in case of a seafarer's death should be at least USD110,000. 

However, the Greek shipowner does not comply with these requirements and pays the crew wages that do not meet established international requirements.

At the request of seafarers, the shipowner will be sent a warning about the need to comply with these international requirements.

The Filipino crew members were happy to know they could go ashore and relax at the International Marine Club of Nakhodka. The captain should submit an application through the ship's agent in advance, and the crew will be taken by free bus to the International Club and back to the vessel.

The crew thanked the SUR representatives for their solidarity in the fight for seafarers' rights and assistance in improving the labor conditions of seafarers working on vessels under flags of convenience.