At Sea

Jan 15, 2008 (LBO) – A week-long campaign by the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) in Colombo and ports in the sub-continent has helped seafarers win better pay and working conditions, the organisation said. “Despite this nine vessels were inspected and when the team was denied access to the Queen Arrow 1, some 40 activists clad in red and white ITF t-shirts organised a demonstration in front of the ship.” ITF inspectors and supporters carried out a total of 96 inspections on board so-called Flag-Of-Convenience (FOC) vessels, it said in a statement.

According to ITF deputy Asia Pacific regional secretary Mahendra Sharma, the FOC campaign in South Asia, particularly in India and Sri Lanka, helped secure over a million dollars in back pay claims and compensation.

It also led to the signing of new ITF agreements by ship owners, which guarantee fair wages and working conditions for seafarers.

A flag of convenience ship is one that flies the flag of a country other than the country of ownership, mainly to avoid taxes and employ cheap labour.

The week-long action in Indian and Sri Lankan ports was part of an ongoing global campaign coordinated by the ITF against the FOC system.

The ITF say