ITF, Shipowners Agree to Seafarer Risk Benefits for Strait of Hormuz

Illustration courtesy ITF Global

By The Maritime Executive 08-13-2019 09:35:20

The International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF) and maritime employers' groups have negotiated an agreement to designate the Strait of Hormuz as a Temporary Extended Risk Zone due to multiple security incidents in the region over the past three months, notably the seizure of the UK-flagged tanker Stena Impero. The new designation means that seafarers who are subject to an attack in the zone are entitled to a bonus and doubled death and disability compensation.

The Warlike Operations Areas Committee of the ITF's International Bargaining Forum (IBF) has been negotiating over the appropriate level of risk level adjustment for the strait for several weeks. The chairman of the Joint Negotiating Group for maritime employers, Capt. Koichi Akamine, said that the forum had taken the appropriate amount of time to reach a careful conclusion. "It is important in such events to step back and assess the real threat to shipping and the most appropriate measures to take. The JNG is confident that it has now introduced a designation which properly addresses concerns by seafarers transiting the Straits," he said. 
“I am pleased that our partners have responded positively to our request to reflect the potential risks that exist for all ships and all seafarers transiting the Strait of Hormuz at this time," said ITF Seafarers' section chair David Heindel. "We continue to call for calm in the area and the release of the [Stena Impero's] crew.”

The committee has already designated the strait a "high risk area" for UK-flagged vessels, according to the British seafarers' union Nautilus International. Effective August 2, seafarers on UK-flagged vessels have a number of additional rights for voyages through the strait, including the right to de-crew from the ship instead of making the passage. Basic wages could also double for time spent in the zone. Nautilus said that the clauses of the  agreement are invoked if flag state and industry guidance are not complied with. This includes UK-flagged vessels that refuse a naval escort and vessels that do not follow guidance from industry bodies like OCIMF, INTERTANKO, BIMCO and ICS.