Stranded Filipino seafarers in New South Wales now safe

KD Suarez
Stranded Filipino seafarers in New South Wales now safe
The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration is told to notify Araw Manning Agency, which deployed the seafarers

MANILA, Philippines – Twenty Filipino seafarers stranded without food in their vessel and with unpaid salaries for 4 months have now been provided with relief, the labor department said on Wednesday, April 1.

The Filipino workers were said to be onboard Bulk Brasil, registered as a vessel in Panama and docked at Port Kembla in New South Wales.

“As far as we are concerned, the 20 seafarers are already well, after the Australian Maritime Safety Authority ordered the detention of the vessel Bulk Brasil. They have been paid their salaries and their vessel stocked with food,” said Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz.

The ship is operated by Japanese corporation Keymax, while the workers were deployed as seafarers by Philippine-based Araw Manning Agency. 

The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) Sea-based Services Office was already told to notify the local agency to assume responsibility, said labor attaché Rodolfo Sabulao.

Sabulao had reported to Baldoz the violations by the ship management of maritime and labor standards.

Resolved case

The Keymax case was brought before the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) by the International Transport Federation (ITF), which negotiated with Keymax.

“We also monitored the negotiations between ITF and Keymax, together with the Sydney Port authorities. We are happy the situation has been resolved,” said Sabulao.

A primary concern for seafarers is occupational health and safety, which demands strict compliance from employers and ship operators. 

Seafarers “face extremely challenging conditions” while out on sea “living in cramped quarters and at the mercy of the weather,” explained the International Labor Organization (ILO).

According to ILO, the Philippines is the world’s top supplier of seafarers with more than one million of them registered with the POEA. Around 20% of the world’s seafarers are Filipinos.

However, the ILO also said that only a small percentage of the 20,000 graduates of Philippine maritime schools and training centers each year actually find employment in the ocean-going vessels. – Rappler.com

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