As ITF's inspector, Sven Hemme, reported, the right maintenance of the ship, is equally important with the right treatment of the seafarers.

A failure in either system can lead to serious accidents. Again, we’ve seen Blumenthal’s standards fail to stack up, with another Blumenthal vessel detained this time for serious safety breaches.

Concerning the inspection of the vessel, the Port State Control visited the vessel at the port of Ghent, after a seafarer complained, on July 1, 2019. The inspection resulted to 36 deficiencies, including major defects that resulted in the detention of the vessel.

Also, serious deficiencies included:

  1. non-functioning emergency lighting, batteries and switches;
  2. unusable life-saving appliances;
  3. incorrectly maintained lifeboats;
  4. inadequate fire extinguishers;
  5. insufficient fire training for the crew;
  6. issues with the general safety policy and procedures on board.

Inspectors also found a number of structural problems including insufficient electrical maintenance, rust and unsafe, damaged doors.

In light of the above, the vessel was detained until the deficiencies were rectified. Consequently, the vessel was released on July 9.

ITF affiliated dockers protested at the Port of Ghent when delivering drinking water to the crew onboard the detained vessel, after claims that the seafarers onboard the vessel were forced to collect rain water with tarpaulins to survive while the vessel was off the coast of Brazil in May.

Mr Hemme further stated

We’ve repeatedly called on Blumenthal to be part of the change to help improve the world’s maritime industry, and to bring all their FoC vessels under ITF Agreements and agree to a transparent compliance process that ensures seafarers’ rights, freedoms and working conditions are protected.

Overall, ITF has been active in protecting seafarers rights, as recently welcomed ILO’s convention on harassment in workplace, when the Foundation supported that the lives of ITF union members, and in particular women transport workers, will be improved as a direct result.