The Flag of Convenience (FOC) Action Week at Kochi Port has sent a strong message to ship owners, warning them against continued growth of FOC and its evils.

The five-day action week was organised by International Transport Workers Federation, Seafarers and Dockers Unions with several programmes.

The activities were jointly organised by Cochin Port Staff Association (CPSA), National Union of Seafarers of India (NUSI), Forward Seamen Union of India (FSUI), Maritime Union of India (MUI) and Merchant Navy Officers Welfare Association (MNOWA).

The activities of the week focused on safe shipping with international safety standards, avoidance of substandard shipping, decent wages and living conditions to seafarers on board vessels and also to ensure trade union rights to workers at Global Network Terminals.

The FOC team headed by the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) Inspector, Thomas Sebastian, inspected several vessels during the week and found that some of them had not been covered by any ITF approved agreement.

Speaking at the valedictory function, Cyril C. George, Secretary, Kochi Port, called for joint efforts by seafarers and dockers to ensure decent shipping.

P.M. Mohammed Haneef, Fair Practices Committee Steering Group (FPC SG) member and Working President of CPSA urged the Government to make arrangements for the release of seafarers being held hostage by Somalian pirates.

He also requested the Global Network Terminal Operators to accept trade union rights and extend decent wages to terminal workers.

C. Unnikrishnan Nair, Traffic Manager of the port, said that shipping companies are joining hands to ensure economic viability of the shipping industry and seafarers being one of the main stakeholders of the industry could not be treated badly by ship owners.

(This article was published on December 17, 2012)
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