NATIONAL NEWS ON THE SEAFARING FRONT Issue: 08NATIONALNEWS ON THESEAFARING FRONTBy Colin BrownNational Co-ordinatorIn this section: Dr Doumbia-Henry & Hon. Anthony Albanese MP• AMSA Asia- Pacific Regional conference on Maritime Labour Convention 2006• Mission to Seafarers National Coordinator’s address AMSA ASIA-PACIFIC• to the conference Moving closer to ratification of the Maritime Labour REGIONAL MLC Convention Australian Council’s negotiations with CONFERENCE Government for funding assistance• AMSA National Seafarers’ Welfare Advisory Committee• Parliamentary submission by the Australian Council of The port of Cairns was an ideal setting for the Australian Maritime the Mission to Seafarers. Safety Authority’s conference on the Maritime Labour Convention 2006. Some twenty nations from the region attended representing over sixty percent of the world’s seafarers. The national coordinator of the Mission to Seafarers Australia was invited to attend and make a presentation during one of the sessions. Of course, we accepted the invitation to address such an important and influential gathering with considerable gratitude. The Hon. Anthony Albanese MP delivered the keynote address on “the importance of the MLC to the Australian Government”. Those present were very heartened to hear of the Minister’s enthusiasm for ratification of the Convention, and his keen understanding of how hard life at sea can be for the world’s 1.3 million seafarers. Dr Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry who is Director, International Labour Standards Department of the International Labour Organization provided a global overview of the MLC, the progress in its implementation and highlighted some emerging issues. Paddy Crumlin Global President, International Transport Workers Federation and the Australian Maritime Workers Union also presented on the importance of the MLC to the maritime family. AMSA’s CEO Graham Peachey and Deputy CEO Mick Kinley- both great supporters of the Mission to Seafarers in Australia - gave
NATIONAL NEWS ON THE SEAFARING FRONT Issue: 08presentations from the perspective of the Australian maritime The conference program, presenters and copies of presentationsregulator and its future role in the life of the MLC, hopefully to be can be found at www.amsa.gov.au/MLC/presentations.asp andratified by 2011. is recommended reading for those interested in the well being of today’s seafarer.NATIONAL COORDINATORSPRESENTATION TO THE ASIA-PACIFICREGIONAL CONFERENCECol Brown addressed the conference on the theme of “How theMaritime Labour Convention will improve the lives of seafarers”. Thefull text of that address can be found on this website.The actual presentation afforded a unique opportunity to showcasethe already herculean work the Mission to Seafarers does in twentyfive ports around Australia’s coastline- highlighting the fact that lastyear we welcomed well over 100,000 grateful overseas seafarersthrough our doors. It also provided the platform to mention thestrain of the tremendous amount of fundraising we must carry outannually to keep our seafarers centres welcoming, equipped andoperational. And of course, without our some 500 faithful anddedicated volunteers none of this would be possible.It was made clear in the presentation that despite our very best “ ...last year we welcomed well over 100,000 “efforts it seems that we are reaching fewer than fifty per cent ofthose seafarers needing contact with us. Accordingly for our grateful overseas seafarers through our doors.organization to increase its capacity to serve more seafarers,strive for better or best practice, and ensure the sustainability andlongevity of our welfare ministry the time has come for Governmentsand invested others to permanently contribute to the funding ofour humanitarian endeavours. So that rather than our having AUSTRALIAN COUNCIL’Sthe capacity to reach only fifty percent of crew we will have thecapacity to reach all that need us. Otherwise, the noble words and MEETINGS WITHideals of the MLC (called the “Seafarers Bill of Rights”) will remain AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENTbut a fantasy to all those seafarers in need of quality shore time,human friendship and warmth, and engagement with caring peopleprepared and able to attend to the hundred and one practical For the latter part of last year and this year Bishop Garry and theneeds crews may have before returning to work on the lonely, MtS National Coordinator have been in negotiation with officers ofdangerous and vast ocean. the Australian Maritime Safety Authority regarding funding support for the work of the Mission to Seafarers in Australia. We are well pleased with the progress of the discussions and await a meeting date with Minister Albanese to further advance our proposal for permanent annual assistance.
NATIONAL NEWS ON THE SEAFARING FRONT Issue: 08We have invited the Apostleship of the Sea to join us in thesenegotiations and are presently drafting a joint proposal which willsupplant the original MtS submission.It is also hoped that will gain the support of both the ITF and keyshipping interests to the churches’ joint proposal as all key maritimestakeholders value and acknowledge the critical charitable workthat both our organization and the Apostleship of the Sea carry outaround some thirty Australian ports. PARLIAMENTARY SUBMISSION FROM AUSTRALIAN COUNCIL ON THE MLC Late last year the MtS Australian Council was invited by the Australian Government to participate in the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties inquiry into the Maritime Labour Convention 2006. We were very keen to assist the Committee with this task and forwarded a submission early in February of this year. The Convention and related documents, including the National Interest Analysis are available on the Committee’s website at: www.aph.gov.au/house/committee/jsct/24november2010/ index.htm The Mission to Seafarers Australian Council submission to JSCOT is found at www.mts.org.au/
NATIONAL NEWS ON THE SEAFARING FRONT Issue: 08AMSA SEAFARERS’ WELFARE The United Nations’ Dr Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry at the Cairn’s conference advised that the MLC was likely to be ratified by theADVISORY COMMITTEE end of 2011 and would come into force twelve months later. The Convention requires the ratification of 30 countries with 33 per cent of the world’s commercial tonnage. The number of nationThe work of this Committee now into its second year goes from ratifications has already exceeded the tonnage requirement andstrength to strength. The current membership of the Committee with the soon expected ratification of all 27 EU countries the othershows the breadth of the commitment to seafarer welfare from requirement will be achieved as well.a wide spectrum of the maritime family including the Mission toSeafarers (represented by Colin Brown), Apostleship of the Sea, Minister Albanese also confirmed that the Australian GovernmentAustralian Shipowners Association, Ports Australia, Shipping was close to ratifying the Convention.Australia, International Transport Federation, Australian MarinersWelfare Society, Department of Education, Employment & When the Convention becomes law, AMSA will be responsibleWorkplace Relations and AMSA. for inspecting foreign-flagged ships entering Australian ports forThe chair of the Committee Paul MacGillivary has recently left compliance with the MLC.AMSA and it is expected that the new chair will be known by thenext meeting scheduled for 15 June 2011. AMSA inspection of foreign- flagged vessels will generally be: 1. a review of the Maritime Labour Certificate and DeclarationA former seafarer himself we would like to acknowledge Paul’s of Maritime Labour Compliance which will be prima faciegreat drive and passion for the well being of seafarers constantly evidence of compliance with the MLCdemonstrated in his chairing of meetings, and we wish him well in 2. inspection of vessels that have not been issued with a MLhis move from Canberra to the West. Fortunately his talents will not Certificate and a Declaration of ML Compliance to MLCbe lost to the maritime community in his new position. standards; and 3. inspection of vessels where the ML Certificate and ComplianceThe achievements and plans of the ASWAC are available on Declaration appear to be falsely maintained, or incompletewww.amsa.gov.au/Seafarers_Welfare/meetings.html or where a contravention of the MLC is obvious, there are reasonable grounds to believe that the ship has changed flag to avoid compliance with the MLC, or a complaint about non- compliance with the MLC has been made. Many of our MtS personnel attended one day seminars/workshops led by Revd Canon Ken Peters from central office, last year, in preparation for the introduction of the MLC and we see the need for refresher courses in the next twelve months. Maybe we can twist Ken’s arm to return to our shores sooner than laterMOVING CLOSER TO RATIFI-CATION OF THE MLC 2006As we know the MLC is an emerging international globalpriority, setting minimum requirements for seafarers to work ona ship including conditions of employment, hours of work andrest, accommodation, recreational facilities, food and catering,occupational health and safety, medical care, welfare and socialsecurity protection.