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Ajman Port takes steps to protect sailors

posted on 20/05/2016: 1828 views

Ajman Port authorities are floating new rules to protect the rights of crew members aboard ships who find themselves stranded in workplace disputes.

A new policy will require ships entering port to post a security deposit of up to Dh100,000 depending on the size of the ship and crew, Nasser Obaid Al Suwaidi, director of Marine Affairs Department, told Gulf News on Tuesday.

In the event of a labour dispute in Ajman port over salaries or working conditions, port authorities can deduct the salary amount from the deposit and provide it to stranded sailors.

Another new measure introduced recently by the Ajman port authority is a radio check ahead of any ship arrival with captains to ensure there are no crew disputes before the ship is granted permission to moor in harbour.

The policy amendments come in the wake of a labour dispute aboard Fair Pigasos, a chemical tanker now stranded in Ajman Port as seven of 15 crew are complaining that they have not been paid for the last seven months.

The company managing the vessel told Gulf News that it has been working to resolve the dispute and has provided cash to some crew and is working on securing visas and completing paperwork to end the matter.

The ship did not anchor in Ajman port for loading or to unload containers, Al Suwaidi said.

The ship entered Ajman port, he said, to access the private dry dock to carry out maintenance work for the ship.

"We are investigating the issue and trying to help the sailors. We also contacted the marine agency who is based in Fujairah and they told us that the owner of the ship did not respond to their call and this is another problem,” Al Suwaidi said.

Three of the crew were sent back to their home country after they were creating problems on board the ship, Al Suwaidi said.

Al Suwaidi said another important issue is that some of the sailors are working with ship companies without contract.

In similar disputes between stranded sailors and ship owners in recent years, Ajman port authority officials helped sailors and supplied them with essentials, including money, food and diesel fuel to operate power generators.

"We even helped the sailors by taking them to the courts to get their salaries but sometimes the sailors failed to show the judge the work contract,” Al Suwaidi said.

Companies who have problems with their sailors have been blacklisted and are not allowed to enter the port again, Al Suwaidi said. – Gulf News -


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