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Conference of the Heads of Seafarers’ Trade Unions of Asia-Pacific Countries Opened in Manila

February 25, 2010

During 2009, pirates attacked 406 vessels and 867 seamen are held hostage by them. These figures were cited on February 24 at the Conference of the Heads of Seafarers’ Trade Unions of Asia-Pacific Countries. The Conference is attended by delegations from Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, China, the Republic of Korea, Russia, the Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia, Pakistan, and Japan.

The Russian delegation of six persons is headed by Nikolay Sukhanov, chairman of the Far-Eastern regional body of the Seafarers’ Union of Russia.

In his phone call from Manila, he informed that 2-day Conference is to make efforts in order to work out its own suggestions for fighting the piracy. China, the Republic of Korea, the Philippines and India are those most concerned about the piracy issues.

The problem of training of fresh staff for the fleet of Asia-Pacific countries was also discussed at the conference. Seafarers’ unions are concerned about navigator and mechanic shortage. Today the deficit of naval officers amounts to approximately 20 thousand people, and by 2015 the shortage is to reach up to 27 thousand people. The trade union heads believe that ship-owners from Asia-Pacific countries are to allocate large funds for fleet staff training in order to solve the problem. At the Conference utterance was given to the fact that Japan, the Philippines and the Republic of Korea have already proceeded to organize a common foundation to extend the base of nautical educational institutions. An opinion on establishment of a major training center for civil vessel command staff was also expressed.

The heads of seafarers’ unions intend to raise a question on stepping up struggle against vessels under flags of convenience (FOC vessels). This is due to the increasing number of FOC vessels being shipwrecked and up to two thousands of seafarers perishing. Within the framework of the anti-FOC week to be held in Asia-Pacific countries from 1 till 5 February, 2010, union activists visited 116 vehicles under flags of Mongolia, Panama, Cyprus and others. According to the press-service of the Far-Eastern regional body of the Seafarers’ Union of Russia, it was found that, in some cases, the wages were hold back and their amount was two times lower than the rate specified by ITF.

Source: IA

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