HRAS Interview No.27: Jason Lam ITF Hong Kong – Beyond the Reach of Labor Laws

Beyond the Reach of Labor Laws

China ratified the Maritime Labor Convention last year; Hong Kong is yet to do so. Jason Lam, International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) Inspector in Hong Kong, talks about the union’s role in wage negotiations, how the MLC is raising conditions for many seafarers and why others are beyond its reach.

 

What role does the Hong Kong ITF play in seafarer welfare?

Our office often handles cases in mainland China as well as Hong Kong, as the ITF is not present in China other than in Hong Kong. Our main focus is the ITF flag of convenience campaign that aims to protect seafarers working on ships whose flag state does not offer strong legislation to protect them. The union has set up collective bargaining agreements with willing shipping companies to ensure that crews are paid according to our minimum wage scale and provided with decent working conditions on board. We conduct inspections to check on ships entering Hong Kong and handle any complaints from seafarers in the region, regardless of their vessel’s flag.

We have a close relationship with the local port state control in Hong Kong, but as Hong Kong has not ratified the MLC, the port state control cannot do much about seafarer welfare – they are mainly focused on the safety of the vessel.

So, the ITF helps in various ways; we try to negotiate with the owner and local authorities. Therefore, the union acts like a middleman between the worker and the employer. Legal action is usually a last resort if there’s really no chance of a resolution by negotiation. It’s always the last resort, because the crew will need to spend more time and sometimes money. Often the ITF will provide legal assistance, but it is a case by case decision.

We also work with charities such as the Mission to Seafarers. In fact, we often carry out routine inspections together. Each week the Hong Kong ITF randomly chooses to inspect three or four vessels out of the 100 or more that come into the harbour. The charities go to the ship to provide newspapers, medicines etc while we do our inspection. Sometimes, the charities hear about wage problems first and then share the information with us.

Has the MLC had an impact on seafarer welfare?

Nowadays, with the MLC entering into force, conditions on many ships, including flag of convenience ships, are much better than before. The most obvious improvement is in living conditions and rest hours. Management give more consideration to rest hours, because it is a serious deficiency if seafarers have had to work too long. Now, proper record is kept, and this is good for seafarers.

However, the MLC has not been ratified by all flag states. Hong Kong is one of the bigger shipping registries, but they are still to ratify. And many countries, even if they have ratified, have a long way to go to fully implement the MLC. In our experience, even a ship flagged with a state that has ratified can have problems.

How has the prolonged downturn in shipping affected seafarer welfare?

We have had more and more abandonment cases and seafarer complaints about unpaid wages in the last six months. It seems to happen cyclically with the shipping economy. There is no particular pattern with respect to flag or owner. We have cases with Chinese owners, Greek owners and owners in the Middle East.

Even now in China I am handling a case of abandonment. The ship has been in China for quite a long time without the seafarers being paid wages. This owner is from Bahrain. In another ongoing case, the Liberty Prrudentia, the owners are Indian.

Yet another ship, the Banco 1, has been stranded for about six years now – it has a Bahrain owner. They change the crew every year, but the current crew have not been paid for a year or more. The master has been there nearly two years now. A few months ago, the crew asked me to start legal action, and the ITF is assisting with a lawyer in China. Some of the crew want to leave, but they are obliged to stay in order to maintain minimum manning levels on board.

Mostly, the crews stay on board in cases like this, because they believe they still have a chance of getting money from the owner. This is very common. If the seafarers have not been paid for two or three months, they are willing to wait on board until they realize there is no chance. If they leave the vessel, they have nothing.

Usually shipping is a good career, because in many countries, as a seafarer, they earn much more than if they were working ashore. However, if the economy goes down or the company has problems, they can be hurt more, as they are dependent on the owner. They can’t just head home and look for another job – it’s not easy to withdraw their labour.

Seafarers on fishing vessels are not covered by the MLC. Are you still able to help them?

Not so much, but if there is a complaint we will try and help them through legal effort. It’s not that easy, because proceeds from the sale of a fishing vessel are not usually enough to cover legal costs. The fishing vessels in Hong Kong usually have a Taiwanese or Chinese owner, and, in my experience, most of the cases for compensation are closed through negotiation.

I recently handled a complaint about a seafarer from Myanmar working on a fishing vessel owned by a Taiwanese company. The crew had been working on the fishing vessel for over a year and their families hadn’t heard from them and were worried. They made contact with ITF in Myanmar, who then contacted me. I was able to track down the owner, and the company finally sent the seafarers home in May. I received a very happy email from the family saying they had met their brother at the airport.

We’ve also had some recent cases of seafarers from Vietnam and Myanmar who were told they were going to work on a large cargo vessel. There was no mention of a fishing vessel, but they ended up on a small boat catching squid off Africa. Usually these scenarios involve very low wages, about $200 or $300 per month, and the living conditions are very bad. The master is usually Chinese or Taiwanese and the crew are from Myanmar, so communication is not good.

We received a complaint about a lack of provisions on board another fishing vessel recently. The wages were not paid on time either. We tried to contact the company to make sure the seafarers were at least paid what their contract stated. This type of vessel does not have ITF collective bargaining agreements, so we cannot ask for more.

When has legal action been successful?

In June last year, after being stuck on board, unpaid, for eight months in the middle of Hong Kong harbor, the crew of the casino ship New Imperial Star headed home, thanks to legal action undertaken with the assistance of the ITF.

The crew of 46 are owed $564,000 in back pay and compensation. The case is currently before the High Court of Hong Kong, and it is anticipated that the court will release their wages after selling the ship. The ITF and the Merchant Navy Officers’ Guild-Hong Kong funded an advance on their wages and paid for their tickets home.

The case is a success story for us. The legislation in Hong Kong is actually better than in a lot of other countries. We hope to achieve a similar outcome for the crew of the Liberty Prrudentia. This vessel is at anchor in Zhoushan in northern China, and the crew have gone unpaid since November 2016. They have had limited supplies of food and water, and the owner is bankrupt. The Indian embassy have been informed and have arranged visa extension for the crew while we help them make a legal claim.

What are the challenges for seafarers looking for help?

If everything worked perfectly, there would not be a need for a union. Our role then is if the authorities or owners don’t respond, seafarers will contact us. They find that the union is closer to them, and, in our area, we know better than they do how to contact local authorities. Sometimes they are not aware of legislation that could help them, and often they don’t know how to contact their own embassy. That was the case with the crew of the Liberty Prrudentia, so we contacted the Indian embassy in Shanghai and asked them to help.

Do you believe that Human Rights at Sea has been helpful?

The case of the Liberty Prrudentia is my first experience of cooperating with Human Rights at Sea. Both Mission to Seafarers and Human Rights at Sea are quite important for protecting seafarers’ rights. If a seafarer has a problem at sea, there is no support, and they need to find a solution by all means they can – the union, charities and the authorities. I think the more options they have, the easier it will be for them to get the information they need to protect their rights.

Thank you, Jason.

HUMAN RIGHTS AT SEA HOME PAGE 

 

The HRAS Interview with Dr Pengfei Zhang – Chinese Seafarers: An Invisible Group

Chinese Seafarers: An Invisible Group

In recent years, China has emerged as a world leader in shipbuilding, shipowning and seafarer-supply. Why is it then that Chinese seafarers remain an invisible group as far as many of the nation’s legal protections are concerned?

pengfei-photoDr Pengfei Zhang, academic, lawyer and former master mariner completed his PhD thesis on the barriers Chinese seafarers face in achieving the same level of remuneration and rights as inscribed in some international standards. His subsequent book Seafarers’ Rights in China: Restructuring in Legislation and Practice under the MLC 2006 was published by Springer last year.

HRAS spoke to Pengfei about how the latest development of seafarers’ rights in China under the Maritime Labour Convention 2006 (MLC).

How did you first get started in seafarer rights?

As a seafarer working on board international merchant ships for more than eight years, I had myself experienced unfair treatment quite often. This included low wages, long working hours, poor working and living conditions and exploitation by manning agencies.

In 2009, I started to teach maritime courses in Shanghai Maritime University. Before that, I worked as a maritime lawyer and helped many Chinese seafarers involved in maritime labour disputes. This helped me to better understand the problems and challenges of seafarers. In 2012, when my career in China was growing well, I made a decision to do my PhD in London and started my academic research on seafarers’ rights.

There were several reasons for that. The most important one was that I had seen the big picture, not just for China, but for the whole world. Shipping is very important, and seafarers are very important, but research on seafarers is relatively sparse, in particular in China. I have the right background, and I am the right person to do this, and I believe the most valuable and meaningful thing for me is to do research on this topic. I am sure that I can make unique contribution.

 

book-front-pageWhat was the aim of your research?

The overall objective of the research was to critically investigate the conditions of seafarers’ rights in China in legislation and practice; in particular, the restructuring process under the impact of the MLC. Since its entry into force in August 2013, significant changes have taken place in the international maritime industry, less so in China. The MLC entered into force in China in November 2016 after being ratified in 2015.

Although seafarer protection in China has improved significantly in the lead-up to this, there are still many serious problems. Seafarers are working at sea, out of the sight of most people on land. As a result, although Chinese seafarers have played an increasingly important role in the international maritime industry, they tend to be an invisible group compared with most workers on land.

 

What improvements have been made?

The major improvements resulting from the adoption of the MLC relate to seafarers’ pre-employment registration, physical examinations, training and recruitment services. The major reason for this appears to be that the Chinese maritime community has attached great importance to seafarers’ training, qualification and competency. These aspects are closely associated with the export of seafarers, the development of the Chinese maritime industry and increased tax revenue.

 

Employment contracts continue to be a problem. Why?

In practice, a number of problems exist that prevent Chinese seafarers from accessing their legal employment entitlements. First of all, many Chinese seafarers have trouble accessing employment opportunities, in particular those with lower ranks, such as ratings and junior officers.

According to the MLC, there should be a public recruitment system available for seafarers to ensure that they have access to an efficient and well-regulated recruitment service. China’s Employment Promotion Law also states that local governments shall establish public employment service institutions that provide labourers with free recruitment services.

But, despite the rapid growth in the economy, China has not yet established an effective public employment system, and in the maritime labour market, many recruitment and placement businesses are controlled by private manning agencies or ship management companies. Many Chinese seafarers have to pay large sums of money for employment opportunities, and they become targets for exploitation.

 

How are they exploited?

As in many other maritime nations, the nature of seafarers’ work may easily subject them to exploitation by unscrupulous shipowners, operators and manning agencies. For example, many seafarers do not have an employment contract. It is even the case that some ships maintain two separate sets of seafarer employment contracts, one real and one false, with the false one just for port state control (PSC) inspections.

Fieldwork I conducted revealed that even some major state-owned Chinese shipping companies were practising this double book-keeping aimed at evading PSC inspection.

Secondly, compared with seafarers in many countries, the wages of Chinese seafarers are still very low. Delayed or unpaid wages and substandard working and living conditions are still very common, in particular when the shipping market is poor.

As there is no relevant regulation of seafarers’ annual leave in China, many Chinese seafarers tend to have a longer annual contract and cannot be repatriated in a timely manner even when they have completed their agreed terms. Furthermore, when labour disputes arise, on many occasions seafarers cannot access effective and efficient legal assistance and remedies.

These may be common problems experienced by seafarers worldwide, but they have a bigger impact on Chinese seafarers.

 

What special issues do Chinese seafarers face?

Unlike shipping businesses which make a direct profit for society, seafarers appear to be less important than the ships on which they serve. China, despite its impressive economic performance in the last several decades, remains a developing country with relatively limited resources allocated for public service. While the Chinese government places overriding emphasis on economic development, the importance of seafarers has been placed second to fleet construction, which seems to attract greater attention.

Chinese seafarers have special profile, and they are also facing some unique problems and challenges, such as the Chinese maritime industry, Chinese maritime labour market, Chinese seafarers’ special role as temporary migrant workers, in their families and society, their difficulty in rejoining family life and society and their social status changes across time.

Furthermore, China has a very large population that includes workers from various trades and industries. Compared with builders, platelayers and miners, seafarers are only a small group, the total number of which is not sufficient to draw special attention.

 

Do labour unions have any impact on Chinese seafarers’ working conditions?

The CSCU is the national industrial union of Chinese seafarers and construction workers that is affiliated to the ACFTU. At an operational level, it has developed a clear strategy to support seafarers, in particular those employed in the foreign sector. In the past, the CSCU has made great effort in protecting and promoting seafarers rights and benefits, for example, in the adoption process of Seafarers’ Regulation, as explained in the Book.

However, the protection provided by the CSCU is far from satisfactory and cannot meet the expectation of Chinese seafarers. On many occasions, it appears to be quite weak and passive and has very limited influence at the international stage. Therefore, it is not able to provide effective and efficient assistance and protection for Chinese seafarers when they encounter difficulties at foreign ports.

In addition, with an increasing number of Chinese seafarers employed by foreign shipowners, the seafarers need the union to fight for their interests and benefits. However, dealing with international affairs requires special skills (including language skills) and many other competencies, which are lacking among many union officers.

There is a serious lack of seafarers’ participation in the process of “collective consultation”. The obviously unequal bargaining power between individual seafarers and maritime employers makes it indisputable that collective bargaining is an essential element of seafarers’ rights. However, although a collective contract has been drafted and proposed by trade union, it is actually absent in practice.

 

What changes would you like to see enacted to improve conditions for Chinese seafarers?

The major challenges to future improvement come from government authorities, the practices of the maritime industry as well as from Chinese seafarers themselves.

Since the adoption of MLC, China’s government has put considerable effort into complying with the Convention, and many changes have taken place. However, there are still significant gaps between Chinese seafarers’ existing rights and desired rights particularly regard to wages, working and living conditions, collective bargaining agreements and seafarers’ social security.

Adoption of the China’s Seafarers Act is of key importance to improve Chinese seafarers’ rights, as well as to the full implementation of the MLC. The Act has been discussed and debated for two decades, but not much progress has been made so far. The government is therefore advised to take more concrete and efficient measures to speed up the legislation process.

Furthermore, the government departments specialising in maritime affairs need to take on more responsibility with regard to seafarers’ rights, in particular flag state inspections.

A more independent, pragmatic and effective seafarers’ union should be established specially for Chinese seafarers.

It is crucial to promote best practice in the maritime industry by implementing corporate social responsibility (CSR) and maintaining a sustainable maritime labour force. The implementation of CSR can attract high-quality talent, enhance a company’s image and eventually improve its marketing performance.

A skilled, loyal and well-motivated seafarer can reduce operating costs by increasing efficiency and safety and by protecting the employer’s investment in vessels and equipment. In contrast, stress, fatigue and complaints can lead to reduced performance. This is usually the reason why incidents that cause environmental damage, loss of life and loss of property occur.

It is therefore becoming more commonly accepted that voluntary CSR should be embedded into maritime business. Respecting seafarers’ rights has become a strategy with the reward of more profit than is produced by ignoring such responsibilities

 

Can Chinese seafarers take action to defend and expand their rights?

According to Chinese law Chinese workers do have rights to defend and expand their rights. However, due to the special characteristics of seafaring labour, the same as in any other countries, seafarers in China may find it is difficult to realize their rights on many occasions. For example, seafarers in China are entitled to participate in the process of Chinese labour law-making. However, in practice, it is very difficult for them to deliver their views and be involved in decision-making. This is especially because of the lack of a strong and effective seafarers’ trade union in China.

The issue is particularly important to seafarers, because their unique employment conditions are not familiar to most law-makers. Compared with the employment conditions of construction workers and miners, which have been addressed to some extent in several major labour laws, seafarers’ in-employment conditions have never attracted much concern in Chinese labour law-making.

Chinese seafarers should be more pro-active, to the extent that this is possible in domestic Chinese affairs, and participate more effectively and effectively in the legislative process in China. Under the impact of the MLC, China has started to promote tripartite negotiation platforms, and seafarers are encouraged to take part in policy-making and collective bargaining activities. There are many opportunities for Chinese seafarers to become involved and to deliver their message more clearly and loudly.

 

What reaction has there been to the book?

The book has provoked significant reaction in many sectors, including academic institutions, shipowners, ship management sectors, manning agencies and in particular seafarers. After publishing, I posted information about the book through Chinese social media and the blog has been forwarded more than 10,000 times. I have received letters and messages asking about the book, and some Chinese seafarers continue to share with me about their experiences.

 

What are you working on next?

I am doing a research for the Seafarers’ Trust on seafarers’ port welfare in China; not just Chinese seafarers but seafarers of any nationality who visit China’ ports. Meanwhile, we are editing another book: The Chinese Seafarers: understanding the largest maritime workforce in the world which will be published by Springer in the second half of 2017.

 

Thank-you Pengfei. HRAS looks forward to hearing about your progress in the future.

The HRAS Interview: Denise Krepp U.S. ship recycling lobbyist

denise-kreppHRAS Interview Denise Krepp

Ship Recycling: If the E.U. can do it, why not the U.S.?

U.S. ship recycling lobbyist, Denise Krepp, says the U.S. is keeping a close eye on the progressive steps that the European Union is taking on ship recycling. The attitude of many in the industry is, if the E.U. can do it, why can’t the U.S.?

Krepp, a former U.S. Coast Guard lawyer, is the registered U.S. lobbyist for EMR USA, a U.S. ship recycling company that has facilities in Louisiana and Texas. She spoke to HRAS about legislative developments underway in the U.S.

 

Why is the U.S. taking an interest in the E.U.’s attempt to ensure that shipowners use ship recycling yards that meet specific standards for worker and environmental protection?

U.S. ship recyclers are encouraging the U.S. government to support the E.U. proposal to charge a fee for all vessels coming into E.U. ports that will be paid back to shipowners if they recycle their vessels in an E.U.-certified facility.

We understand that the E.U. is trying to level the playing field, and if the E.U. does impose a fee on vessels coming into its ports, it will have a ripple effect globally. It will force others to change, which is a positive thing.

The Hong Kong Convention is not really going anywhere, and, in any case, it doesn’t prevent beaching. From the U.S. ship recycling perspective, our companies have invested a lot of money in their facilities because they want to protect the environment and they want to protect workers. If they’re at a gold standard, which they believe they are, why should others be viewed at the same level when they haven’t sunk the same costs in?

 

U.S. ship recyclers have applied to be certified by the European Union. Is their focus on the E.U. a case of self-interest?

That is part of it. If a U.S. government vessel is to be recycled, then yes, they believe it should be recycled by U.S. workers. A second part, though, is the reason I’ve been advocating in Washington, and that is to remind people that in addition to looking at their carbon footprint, their emissions and their ballast water, they must also remember what happens to their ships at the end of the day.

U.S. workers are heavily regulated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency. We have safety training. We have safety equipment. We have regulations to make sure that the environment is protected.

We want our vessels to be dismantled in facilities where workers are protected. Facilities in the U.S. have sunk the necessary costs into their business, because they believe it’s important.

When you look to see what’s going on in other places, there’s a stark difference, and we need to recognize that everybody has a role to play in the future of the industry. When I noticed recently that a Norwegian hedge fund was assessing ship recycling standards before making investments, I realized just how closely the non-maritime world is looking at this situation and saying, “We should all be concerned about this.”

 

What is currently happening to U.S. government vessels that are recycled?

Ship recycling in the U.S. is a mess. The Federal Property and Administrative Service Act of 1949 states that the Maritime Administration (MARAD) should serve as the government’s disposal agent for obsolete government vessels that are over 1,500 gross tons. Sadly, the General Services Administration (GSA) ignores the act and instead auctions off vessels haphazardly.

As a result the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, the state maritime schools and the thousands of maritime historical organizations throughout the country suffer because, when MARAD disposes of vessels, these entities receive a portion of the proceeds. When GSA usurps the process, none of these educational entities receives the funding for which they are eligible under federal law.

 

The Ships to Be Recycled in the States (STORIS) Act was introduced in the 2015-2016 cycle of Congress. What does it call for?

The STORIS Act gets its name from the former Coast Guard Cutter Storis, which was dismantled in Mexico in 2013 through a GSA contract, in violation of the current law.

People are frustrated by that. They’re very frustrated by that, so Congress wanted to remind the U.S. government that its vessels should stay in the United States. They wanted to make sure that MARAD, which by law already has the authority to be the disposal agent, is actually the disposal agent, and that other agencies recognize that.

The STORIS Act strengthens oversight of MARAD’s domestic ship recycling program and promotes transparency by requiring reports from the agency and an audit by the Government Accountability Office. MARAD receives millions of dollars in federal funding but currently does not disclose how the money is spent or how the agency awards contracts.

The other interesting part of this legislation is that the government is supposed to come up with a list of vessels that are going to be declaring obsolete. That is expected to include everything from MARAD vessels to vessels owned the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Army Corps of Engineers and the Fish and Wildlife Service.

Many government agencies own vessels, and Congress wants to make sure all of these vessels are recycled in the United States. It has directed MARAD to come up with a list, working with all the government agencies, of all the vessels, and then come up with a plan for how all these vessels are going to be disposed of.

 

Is there any doubt that the Act will be passed?

The National Defense Authorization Act has been passed by Congress every year for over 50 years now, every year. Chairman Thornberry, who’s Chair of House Armed Services, and Chairman McKeon from the Senate have both been very forthright in saying they’re not going to be the ones that don’t pass this legislation. They want the trend to continue.

 

Parts of the STORIS Act were included in the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2017. The full bill will be voted on in both the House and the Senate and then passed up to the new President for final authorization. What then?

We were focusing on government vessels this Congress, and then commercial vessels will be the focus for next Congress. The push will be to ensure that any vessel that is financed, subsidized, or chartered by the U.S. government is recycled in the United States.

When I’m talking about chartering, I’m talking about the Department of Defense charters of foreign-build vessels. They reflag them into the U.S. fleet, and then they charter them. In a couple of instances, they have specifically named these vessels after U.S. Medal of Honor recipients, and then they’ve turned around and let them be dismantled in foreign facilities. It’s the position of the U.S. recyclers that if you’re going to name a vessel after a man who has died in service of his country, then the vessel should be recycled by U.S. workers who have made the investment and are keeping the environment clean, not in a foreign facility that’s not operating at the same level.

At present, there are only 83 blue water vessels left sailing under the U.S. flag, of which 60 participate in the Maritime Security Program. Each one of these 60 vessels receives $3.1 million per year to participate, so the argument is that if the U.S. government is giving a vessel owner $3.1 million per year for up to 25 years, then those vessels should be recycled in the U.S.

 

Does the legislation cover human rights issues?

No, not yet. Not yet, but next Congress we’re going to be talking about it. We’d like to talk about some of the corporate social responsibility issues that have been raised in the E.U.

It’s companies’ corporate social responsibility to make sure that their vessels are dismantled with proper respect for human rights at an environmentally friendly facility. We’ll be saying to Congress and to others, “Well, if the E.U., why can’t the U.S.?”

 

Can you tell us about EMR’s Brownsville yard located in the poorest county of the U.S.?

Firstly, it’s clean. It’s laid out with concrete; there is no beaching, and the company prides itself on providing a livable wage for its workers. It also makes sure that its workers have what they need to be productive and comfortable. Brownsville, Texas, is really hot, and as one example of the company’s efforts to care for its workers, it has developed an air conditioned suit that workers wear when they are out in the heat of the day.

The company is also very respectful about preserving the history of the naval vessels that it recycles. Parts from some of the ships they are being recycling at present are going to be donated to museums.

Additionally, in the United States, we have a Library of Congress Veterans Oral History Program so that veterans can share their memories about these ships.

When EMR was awarded the contract for recycling the Independence, an aircraft carrier that participated in the Vietnam War, we received an email from a woman who said that three generations of her family had served on the vessel. EMR has planned a ceremony prior to the vessel’s dismantlement that will allow veterans one last look at the ship they served on for so many years.

Thank-you Denise.

isl-photo-november-2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

The HRAS Interview: Steven Jones – 5th Annual Capital Link Shipping & Offshore CSR Forum

5th Annual Capital Link Shipping & Offshore CSR Forum “Best Industry Practices- A competitive advantage”

Steven Jones HRAS 300dpi sml sizeDoing “good”, and the “right thing” are fine and noble concepts, but for an industry as diverse as shipping it is unclear what can, should and will be done in the name of corporate social responsibility. We spoke to Steven Jones on the latest thinking on the challenges, but also the opportunities ahead.

HRAS: It is positive to hear issues of social responsibility being discussed, but do you think there is a widespread understanding of CSR?

It is fantastic that CSR is being brought to the forefront of discussions, but that is only the beginning. The very concept of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in shipping is perhaps as nebulous as the concept of the shipping industry itself. With so many different players, trades, and stakeholders, challenges, and opportunities across the industry, finding a united front is hugely difficult.

Since CSR first came into vogue it has been a thorny and difficult concept for shipping. Companies, academics and all kinds of associations have wrestled with definitions – but it is hard to find the message that resonates with all. There is clearly no current one-size-fits-all answer to this issue.

Continue reading The HRAS Interview: Steven Jones – 5th Annual Capital Link Shipping & Offshore CSR Forum

The HRAS Interview with VGroup’s Matt Dunlop: In the Business of Caring for Seafarers

Matt DunlopThe HRAS Interview: Matt Dunlop: In the Business of Caring for Seafarers

Seafarers’ needs are constantly evolving, and meeting them is a responsibility that global ship management company V.Group takes seriously. Human Rights at Sea spoke to Matt Dunlop, Group Director of Marine Operations at V.Group, to find out how the group cares for its seafarers.

HRAS: Tell us about V.Group?images

V.Group is the world’s leading provider of maritime services to the commercial shipping and cruise industries and an increasingly important player in the energy sector. The company delivers a wide range of marine services including technical management, seafarer management, technical support, procurement and ship supply chain management within an extensive brand portfolio including the market-leading ship management specialist V.Ships.

Continue reading The HRAS Interview with VGroup’s Matt Dunlop: In the Business of Caring for Seafarers