Seafarers Argue No One in State Administration Follows International Requirements and Standards

By , 26 Oct 2018, 14:29 PM Business
Assembly of the Union of Seafarers Assembly of the Union of Seafarers Sinisa Lukovic

Share this:

October 26, 2018 - The situation in the Montenegrin state maritime administration is catastrophic, and the Ministry of Transport and Maritime Affairs (MSP) in general does not have any staff who are taking care and follows the issue of seafarers, it was stated at the regular Assembly of the Union of Seafarers of Montenegro (UP). 

This NGO gathers active seafarers of all vocations and rankings to promote and protect their interests and return seafarers to an adequate place in society. One of the few professional associations of seafarers in Montenegro, UP has so far launched several significant activities to assist state bodies to keep Montenegro responding to the requirements and standards imposed by the very dynamic development of the world's maritime industry, as well as relevant international organizations from such areas like IMO and EMSA.

Nevertheless, despite the fact that Osman Nurkovic (S) has been constantly warned by the competent MSPs, a few thousands of Montenegrin seafarers who are sailing for foreign employers are constantly having problems because of the poor work of our state administration, especially in the field of education, training and certificates for the seafarers. Therefore, Montenegrin patents are often problematic or unacceptable to the administrations of numerous foreign states, especially the EU countries whose ships our people are sailing on.

MSP as the ultimate seafarers' ministry, has no single section dealing with them and topics of crucial importance to a profession whose members in Montenegro take in over 270 million euros in fresh money through what they earn on foreign ships.

5.jpg

PHOTO: Siniša Luković

No one in the Montenegrin State Maritime Administration is obliged to follow the latest IMO, ILO, IHO, EMSA and other international organizations regulating the world maritime industry, and in most of the local seafarer training centers there is slackness and clientelism, because staff members of MSP teaches them to the candidates and get compensation for it, and then there is a direct conflict of interest when these same candidates are released after the exams at the Harbor Captains, where this is the staff of civil services in the role of the examiner. Montenegro does not even have any records of its sailors, nor does it keep track of their employment. Maritime schools and "faculties" look like post-rainy mushrooms in all seaside towns but also in the interior of the state, and for the seafarers' occupation, people are quickly re-qualified with high school diplomas from the region which most commonly have nothing to do with seafaring – said the participants of the UP Assembly held on Thursday in Kotor.

The assembly in the amphitheater at the Maritime Faculty of the Kotor faculty, among others, was attended by the representatives of the Association of Naval Captains MNE, Boka Navy, Azalea Training Center and several companies with which UP cooperated, but no one of the invited state maritime administration representatives appeared.

"The impression is that the "lower levels" of the state system we constantly strive to communicate with and address with the problems, have a lack of authority to deal with this "story", so we intend to go directly to the Minister Nurkovic, and present him all the problems and ask him for the adoption of the Montenegrin Maritime Development Strategy that our state does not have," said the President of the UP, Captain Nedjeljko Radulović.

He and the other present sailors who are sailing or commanding the number of foreign employers on vessels which, with the burden they are carrying, are worth several hundred million euros, believe that MSA and its bodies work on the principle of "heavy improvisation and none of them undertake any initiative ex officio".

"Mariners must return to the system to repair it. MSP is crucial in all because they have to coordinate the work of other government officials who have an influence on seafarers such as the Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare, Health and Education. We have to have a systemic approach and take radical measures to ensure quick and qualitative solutions for our life-long trajectories," Captain Janko Milutin said, pointing out that MSP has done nothing regarding all EU members, especially Greece, which has the largest trade fleet, in order to sign bilateral agreements on the recognition of Montenegrin seafarers' patents, so that they could find jobs on ships with the flags of those states.

The participants showed that the Montenegrin state administration has, with difficulty and with a lot of "looking through the fingers" by the European Maritime Safety Agency, "tugged" to the whitelist of EMSA 2017, because it took them nine years to meet the requirements of the EU Directive in 2008. Next year the Montenegrin State Maritime Administration will survey IMO experts at the International Maritime Organization, and seafarers fear that their findings will be very bad, which could make them return to the "blacklist", but this time for much larger potential employers from all Member States IMO.

UP helps seafarers' families

UP will collect about EUR 15,000 from membership fees this year. Of this, 60 percent of the money will go to a joint fund to help endangered or sick seafarers and their families. This year, already 4.300 euros were paid to help the family of tragically deceased sailor Vladimir Zablacki on the boat "MSC Marina". The UP will soon open an office in Skaljari where it will hire a permanent administrative employee and continue with numerous professional, organizational and humanitarian activities that have been launched over the past couple of years.

Text by Sinisa Lukovic, on October 26th, 2018, read more at Vijesti

Photo galleries and videos