Nautilus International's work to promote an accreditation system to improve seafarers' living and working conditions got a further green light at recent International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF) meetings in South Africa.
ITF's fair practices committee unanimously agreed a motion from Nautilus, supported by the Australian Institute of Marine and Power Engineers, which urged the ITF to build on the findings of the 'Goodship' report – which recommended the development of such a scheme to support the continuous improvement of seafarers' living and working conditions.
Nautilus was represented at the ITF meetings by general secretary Mark Dickinson and deputy general secretary Marcel van den Broek. The Union's international officer Nick Bramley also attended as chair of the ITF Inland Navigation Section.
The motion says the multi-stakeholder accreditation scheme should 'empower both individual consumers, charters, brokers, insurers, retailers and other users of shipping to understand the continuation of seafarers in delivering 95% of the world's goods.'
The main events in Cape Town also included the ITF seafarers' section conference, and in his capacity as the seafarers' spokesperson, Mr Dickinson gave a report to the meeting on the activities of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and its work on amendments to the Maritime Labour Convention to protect seafarer's wages and other entitlements when held captive by pirates, armed robbers or kidnappers.
Cabotage (legislation protecting domestic shipping and jobs) was also discussed at the conference. Some research undertaken by Seafarers Rights International for the ITF was presented which showed that cabotage is currently provided for in 67% of the 136 countries whose legislation was examined.
The ITF fair practices committee brings together seafarers' and dockers' representatives from around the world to oversee three key strands - the campaigns against Flags of Convenience and Ports of Convenience, and the work of the ITF Worldwide FOC Inspectorate, and the International Bargaining Forum negotiations.