Minister of Transport and Maritime Affairs Osman Nurković met with the representatives of the Association of Captains, the Union of Seafarers, the Maritime Faculty Kotor and the Seafield Training Center Azalea Bijela on Wednesday.
The meeting was held in a broader form, so the closest associates of Minister Nurkovic from the maritime area were also involved in the discussion: Director General of the Directorate for Maritime Traffic and Inland Navigation captain Vladan Radonjić, Head of the Directorate for the Application of Maritime Safety Standards Snežana Đurković, Harbour Captains of the Port of Bar and Port of Kotor, Bruno Brkanović and Predrag Ratković, as well as the lawyer of Kotor Port Authority, Savić Božović.
The occasion of the meeting was the recently published open letter sent to the Prime Minister of Montenegro, as well as media reports that followed the "alarming situation in the maritime sector". At the beginning of the meeting, Minister Nurković expressed his conviction and repeated his attitude that such important issues should be solved by discussion and joint engagement, and not through the media, emphasizing that since his appointment to the office of the Minister of Transport and Maritime Affairs he had held meetings with all interested groups, whether it was a matter of seafaring or some other area for which he is competent.
Therefore he said he didn’t understand the criticism of those who have never contacted the ministry with the intention to present their views or to point to such an "alarming state", but had decided to act via media and open letters.
"At the beginning of the conversation, the initiators of the open letter, who, as they emphasized, at the same time advocated the views of seafarers, expressed the view that the open letter was sent to the Prime Minister, written out of good intentions, in order to raise the status of seafarers to the level they deserve. They also pointed out that they did not agree and that there were rough estimates in the media about the incompetence and lack of interest of the staff in the Ministry of Transport and Maritime Affairs.
According to the participants of the meeting, the media unprofessionally and incorrectly transferred certain information. As they explained, they are aware that the existing capacities of the state administration are insufficient to effectively and timely address all issues and topics related specifically and exclusively to seafarers' needs.
They presented a list of their views on the issues that are most relevant to seafarers. They received answers to a significant number of attitudes that were highlighted as the most important, with Minister Nurkovic insisting that priorities should be set, with an understandable need to improve the status of seafarers, but also with the necessary acceptance of real legal frameworks in which all activities must take place. The main issues were legal solutions, the involvement of associations in their development, employment, but also the education of seafarers.
Minister Nurkovic welcomed the Montenegrin seafarer's representatives’ proposal on the organization of the round table, with the aim of professional discussion contributing to the quality of legal and strategic documents. His view was that issues that need to be resolved in the future and the challenges in this area are much more complex and could be solved by the discussion at the round table," stated the Ministry of Transport and Maritime Affairs.
Representatives of education, training centers, agency for employment and seafarers' associations, signatories of the public letter to the Prime Minister of Montenegro, proposed the establishment of a special, self-sustaining directorate, which would deal exclusively with monitoring, by preparing and applying international standards, that is, maritime law regulations (IMO-STCW, ILO-MLC and MZO Regulations (WHO) at the meeting with Minister Nurkovic
As stated from the Association of Naval Captains of Montenegro based in Kotor, the Directorate for Mariners should employ current and/or former seafarers with the highest degrees.
The signatories of the open letter pointed out that they are expecting the invitation of the Prime Minister of Montenegro and expect the minister to use his influence and urge the prime minister to schedule this meeting, "the Association of Maritime Captains of Montenegro announced.
The meeting was held at the initiative of Minister Nurkovic, and the proposals will be sent to the Prime Minister.