Health and safety

ITF green lights crew contract extensions

17 March 2020

The International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) will green light the extension of Seafarer Employment Agreements (SEAs) for up to one month in response to Covid-19 containment strategies.

The global group for transport unions said it would not challenge extensions to seafarers' contracts of up to one month, even when these push service periods past the maximum allowable by ITF approved Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBAs) or the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC), provided individual seafarers consent to such extensions.

The ITF will reassess its position from April 16.

'The shipping industry plays a pivotal role in the global logistics chain and 90% of all goods are transported by sea so it is essential that this key function is allowed to continue to perform as close to its best as possible in this hour of dire need for communities worldwide,' ITF maritime coordinator Jacqueline Smith said.

'Should a seafarer have a solid case for being repatriated at the end of their contract despite travel restrictions, their case will be evaluated further by the social partners,' she said.

'The wishes of any individual seafarer should be considered when considering repatriation.'

Nautilus has published Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) which sets out some general guidance for members, mostly relying on the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006 (MLC) and Seafarers' Employment Agreement (SEA). However, note that there will be differences between flag states' laws.

For specific advice based on your own individual circumstances and SEA please contact your industrial organiser for assistance.