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Holding of seafarers in Indian Ocean condemned

State of lawlessness The worldwide shipping industry as well as the ITF and unions have roundly condemned the latest development in the Indian Ocean piracy crisis. The incident involves the ordeal of the Indian crew of a merchant ship, who are being held by pirates despite payment of a ransom.The 15 crewmembers of the tanker Asphalt Venture were held following the hijack by Somali pirates on 28 September. After a ransom was paid, the ship was released on 15 April. However, six officers and one rating were forced to accompany the pirates ashore, in spite of dialogue with the owners during which it was agreed that all hostages would be released.It has been suggested that pirates in Harardhere in Somalia decided not to honour the agreement in retaliation for the recent arrest of Somali pirates by the Indian navy.In a statement released on 18 April, shipping industry bodies, the ITF and its affiliates the National Union of Seafarers of India and the Maritime Union of India said: "This is a fundamental change to previous practice and moves the issue from being just between the ship owner and the pirates to being between the pirates and a government. It is a ...

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ITF urges action over problem

Dangers of badly prepared shipping containers The International Transport Federation (ITF) and the International Labour Organisation (ILO) launched a campaign in February to highlight the dangers of badly prepared shipping containers.The union will lobby politicians, the EU and other stakeholders to push for action to stem "overloaded, badly packed or inadequately secured freight containers, and those carrying undeclared dangerous goods".Source: Safety4Sea

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IMB supports global campaign vs piracy

Action on the issue of maritime piracy The ICC International Maritime Bureau (IMB) has come out in support of a joint campaign launched by the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), Intertanko, Intercargo, BIMCO and the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) that urges governments to take firm action on the issue of maritime piracy off the coast of Somalia.The campaign, aimed at raising awareness of the human and economic costs of maritime piracy, urges governments around the world to prioritise six key actions:Reducing the effectiveness of easily identifiable motherships;Authorizing naval forces to hold pirates and deliver them for prosecution and punishment;Fully criminalizing all acts of piracy and intent to commit piracy under national laws, in accordance with their mandatory duty to co-operate to suppress piracy under international conventions;Increasing naval assets available in the affected areas;Providing greater protection and support for seafarers; andTracing and criminalizing the organisers and financiers behind the criminal networks.So far in 2011, 13 vessels have been hijacked by suspected Somali pirates, with a total of 243 crewmembers taken hostage.In addition, six crew were kidnapped from a vessel that was hijacked and then left adrift in the Indian Ocean. Of most concern, however, are the seven murders committed by ...

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ITF help East European seafarers win their wages

Seafarers win US$355,000 in wages The ITF in Denmark has helped four East European seafarers win US$355,000 in wages owed when they were abandoned without pay and food in Svendborg in 2009.The seafarers, from Lithuania and Ukraine, were left high and dry when the owner of their coaster, the Lis Weber, went bankrupt. Their wages have now been retrieved following the sale of the ship at auction. The ITF provided legal and technical assistance.Sourcwe: ITF

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