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20 September 2020 The on-line newspaper devoted to the world of transports 23:00 GMT+2

September 9, 2020

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A tip to young people who aspire to a career on the sea: think about it not two, but a thousand times

Another call by the IMO to governments to allow the changing of the crews of the ships and yet another hypocrite certificate of heroism awarded to seafarers

For clarity: the following is not a provocation, but a definite indictment of a shipping industry who fails or does not want to safeguard the rights of a party substantial and essential of its workers. An industry that is coupled with repeated appeals from international organizations governments to - despite restrictions on travel to the Covid-19 pandemic - allow seafarers who have after their contractual working period to go home and their colleagues to reach the ship to replace them. An industry that expresses solidarity, concern and participation, but at the same time does little or nothing to prevent maritime rights are violated.

Let's not talk about the recognition of "heroes" attributed them from the shipping industry. A praise that, if perhaps sincere in the first moments of the emergency, it tastes of hypocrisy when it is now notes what has been done to allow these workers to return to a normality that for them is not never been synonymous with ease.

Maritimes which, by now, it is evident, if not in words are not helped by no one if you exclude the unions that however, unable to call a strike on a global scale, provide sporadic care initiatives however meritworthy, such as the one made by the international trade union International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF) cooperation of the Tunisian trade unions that at the end of August led to the repatriation of 58 Egyptian seafarers who at the end of their period two-month work aboard five support ships off the coast of Tunisian coasts had been forced to remain on duty for four months due to restrictions on foreign exchange crews imposed by the local government.

Fifty-eight seafarers. A drop in the ocean as, according to the latest calculations by the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) and ITF, there are currently more than 300,000 who are stranded at sea and cannot go home despite having expired the contractual period of work, to which are added the as many unable to give them the change.

Ahead of the United Nations General Assembly, which will early next Tuesday, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) again urged governments to resolve the problem of changing crews is urgently. Will also a 'strong statement' issued by the IMO Secretary-General, Kitack Lim, but already the pressing previous invitations to do so had fallen on deaf ears. Nothing new, other than the prolongation of the period that seafarers, willing or willing they spend on board ships, and that in some cases - explains Lim - over 17 months. Nothing new even as to the recognition for these workers: despite all the challenges IMO's secretary-general wrote to governments and government and non-governmental authorities - seafarers on board the ships continued to work and services what seafarers have offered to the world have been to say unsyraced (sic!).

An appeal that, if he has not yet found, will find the support for national and international associations represent the shipowners, at this point the only ones able to really do something to force governments to work to resolve the issue. Something that will hopefully be different since their last protest action - ringing the sirens of the ships - that didn't produce any results as expected, nor did it will generate in the future.

To conclude a suggestion to young people to whom in the future will pass through the mind of enrolling in a nautical institute with aiming to embark on a career at sea. We write it aware of the effect this can have on our newspaper that mainly deals with shipping: currency not one but a hundred, a thousand times if that's the right way and make sure you are well aware of what situation you are in Hunting.

Bruno Bellio

PSA Genova Pra'
Autorità di Sistema Portuale Mar Ligure Orientale

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