News Bulletin – 27 February 2021

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1. The Mission to Seafarers launches new e-learning modules for seafarers.

26 Feb 2021 : International seafarer welfare charity, The Mission to Seafarers has today announced the launch of its new e-learning modules as an extension to its We Care programme.

In response to the added pressures on seafarers during COVID-19, the two face-to-face programmes are being moved online to provide greater accessibility. WeCare was launched by The Mission to Seafarers in January 2019. The goal of this ambitious new initiative was to address an issue at the very heart of seafarers’ mental health and wellbeing: relationships and emotions.

Both courses are designed to help seafarers cope with concerns from home, which might lead to potential safety issues at sea. Produced by qualified professionals specifically for seafarers, the Mission believes this course is like no other.

2. Unions demand worldwide seafarer vaccination programme.

26 Feb 2021 : The Nautilus Federation, a group of 22 trade unions representing seafarers and inland waterways workers, has issued a statement calling on governments and global organisations to coordinate a worldwide vaccination programme for seafarers and inland waterways transport crew.

The unions believe that the crew change crisis could be mitigated by an international endeavour to vaccinate maritime and shipping professionals. An international effort would also help to ensure that seafarers do not miss out on vaccinations while travelling for work.

The joint statement notes that vaccination policies and authorisations by government agencies differ in many jurisdictions, with some vaccines not considered suitable by particular countries. It therefore calls for seafarers who receive a vaccine outside of their country of domicile to only be given one authorised by the regulatory body of their home country. It also reflects on the importance of seafarers receiving information on their vaccination in English and their own language.

3. India’s average ship turnaround time at major ports improves.

25 Feb 2021 : The average turnaround time for ships at major ports in India has reduced by 35 percent over the last six years, indicating a significant improvement in the country’s port management infrastructure.

Ports are considered major growth drivers as they play an important role in a country’s economic development. One of the key indicators to measure the efficiency of ports is turnaround time – the time a ship spends entering, unloading, loading and exiting the port – which has improved considerably over the past few years.

Ships’ average turnaround at the country’s major ports fell from 4 days in 2014-15 to 2.59 days in 2019-20, according to the Economic Survey 2020-21, released last month. However, this has increased from 2.48 days in 2018-19, and is likely to rise further in the current year (2.62 days during April-September 2020-21).

4. IMO And Wista Seek Input To Women In Maritime Survey.

25 Feb 2021 : The International Maritime Organization (IMO) and Women’s International Shipping & Trading Association (WISTA) are asking companies to help them obtain baseline data on the number of women in maritime and oceans fields and the positions they occupy.

To do this, they have created a survey, which is to be filled out by company HR leaders. Our aim is to support implementation of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by having comparable data that will assist us in creating programmes and proposing policies that will increase the participation of women in maritime,” IMO and WISTA writes. BIMCO supports this goal, and we would like to encourage our members to complete the survey.

5. After 3 years abandoned at sea without pay, this oil tanker crew is on cusp of going home.

24 Feb 2021 : When a shipping company from the United Arab Emirates hit financial trouble in 2017 and abandoned an oil tanker off the coast of Dubai, it left a small crew still aboard, stranded at sea without pay or a way home.

Those men have been on the tanker ever since, but a chance at repatriation for the five remaining crew seems to finally be within grasp. “The owner told us: ‘Please wait, I want to sell the ship and after I will clear the salaries,'” remembers Nay Win, who came to work as chief engineer on the MT Iba from his home in Myanmar.

Win started work on the tanker in 2017, a few months before the owners, Alco Shipping Services, asked the crew to anchor about eight miles off the Dubai coast.

6. Over 400 rescued migrants brought to Sicily.

24 Feb 2021 : Two commercial vessels and a Spanish rescue ship have brought more than 400 migrants to Sicily over the past three days. One of the ships, the Vos Triton, only drove the survivors to Italy after they protested against being returned to Libya.

The Italian offshore supply vessel Asso Trenta brought 232 boat migrants to the port town of Porto Empedocle on the Italian island of Sicily on Monday (February 22). Italian public radio reported on Monday that during the migrants’ rescue on Saturday in the Mediterranean Sea, a body had also been found.

After being tested for COVID-19, the migrants were to be brought to the quarantine ship GNV Allegra, moored in Porto Empedocle. The cruise ferry is one of several vessels the state of Italy is using to house or quarantine migrants. It is not the first time the Asso Trenta has rescued migrants in the Mediterranean: In November 2019, the vessel brought to Sicily 151 migrants it had rescued in waters off Libya a day earlier.

7. ITF Seafarers Secures Tanker Crew Release In Iran.

23 Feb 2021 : More than a dozen seafarers from South Korea, Myanmar, Vietnam, and Indonesia are now making their way home after the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) and its Iranian affiliate helped broker their release from Iranian authorities.

Iran’s Revolutionary Guard seized the South Korean-flagged tanker MT Hankuk Chemi in the Strait of Hormuz on 4 January 2021. The crew detained in the process were five South Korean, 11 Burmese, two Vietnamese and two Indonesian seafarers.

The ITF was contacted by Federation of Korean Seafarers’ Union (FKSU) asking the ITF family for solidarity and support for the detained seafarers. The ITF has helped broker the release of seafarers caught up in diplomatic events in the region before, including in 2019 when seafarers aboard the Iranian-flagged Happiness 1 were detained by Saudi Arabian authorities.

8. Union kicks against imposition of DPR’s requirement on seafarers.

22 Feb 2021 : The Nigeria Merchant Navy Officers and Water Transport Senior Staff Association has kicked against the alleged exploitation by some oil and gas offshore companies mandating seafarers to foot the cost of acquiring Offshore Safety Permit introduced by the Department of Petroleum Resources as required by International Oil Companies.

It was gathered that DPR introduced the OSP a requirement posed by IOCs for seafarers to obtain at a fee but the seafarers union has raised the alarm over the directive put in place by the government agency.

National President of NMNOWTSSA, Bob Yousuo, said he would put an end to the injustice done to Nigerian seafarers under his watch. A statement made available to newsmen by the Secretary-General of the union, John Okpono, on Saturday, quoted the president as saying that Nigerian seafarers or mariners were guided by maritime conventions and guidelines from the maritime regulatory body, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency.

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