10 November 2020
RMT Press Office
SEAFARERS’ UNION RMT today responded to the historic findings of the World Maritime University (WMU) over the abuse of seafarers’ hours of work and crewing levels in the merchant shipping industry
RMT General Secretary Mick Cash, said:
“RMT welcome the WMU’s ground breaking report. We have long raised our concerns over the tick box exercise on hours of work and manning levels which is especially common on Flag of Convenience registered ships in the UK shipping industry. Importing crew from the other side of the world to work 12 hour days, 7 days a week for months on end remains an issue for RMT.
“The report correctly finds the current culture and practice on crewing levels in the merchant shipping industry to be dangerous and at odds with efforts to improve seafarer rights and maritime safety. This report must be a wake up call to Government, industry, trade unions and seafarers on the need for safe hours of work and crewing levels which take into consideration the commercial operation of a vessel and not just a minimum safe manning model.
“This would prevent shipowners from stretching safety regulations to cut labour costs. The culture of routinely undermining seafarer rights and maritime safety to protect profits per voyage must end and RMT call on the UK Government to engage with trade unions in order to enact reforms that tackle seafarer fatigue around the UK coast at the earliest opportunity. Such reform would be consistent with the actions of a quality flag state.”
Notes to Editors
1. The World Maritime University report entitled A culture of adjustment, evaluating the implementation of the current maritime regulatory framework on rest and work hours (EVREST) is here
2. The RMT has regularly raised the issue of crewing/manning levels with the UK regulator the Maritime and Coastguard Agency for over a decade.
3. During her time at the International Labour Organisation, the President of the WMU, Dr. Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry was responsible for the introduction of the Maritime Labour Convention, the first set of global minimum standards for seafarer welfare.