Piracy and Illegal Fishing

The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) and affiliated trade unions are to hold the Asia-Pacific regional conference in Jakarta next week to discuss sea crime in the region.

ITF to organize conference on piracies, illegal fishing

Ridwan Max Sijabat, The Jakarta Post

The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) and its affiliated trade unions will hold the Asia-Pacific regional conference here next week to discuss sea crime in the region.

Chairman of the ITF’s Asia-Pacific Region Hanafi Rustandi said the conference that would last four days on Monday through Thursday was so important for Indonesia that relevant authorities, including the Indonesian Military and the police were also invited to attract the government’s attention to sea crimes which have caused losses to the government and affect the livelihood of seafarers.

“Armed robberies have been on the rise in Indonesia’s ports while piracy has been increasing on the Malacca straits, the South China Sea and Somalian waters in the past few years. Several Indonesian cargo and fishing vessels, including their crew members, have been hijacked and released after paying ransoms,” he said.

Indonesia would also raise issues on illegal fishing and infringement of the cabotage principle, which has exploited Indonesian seafarers, he said.

“The inter-island trade, or cabotage, is an extremely sensitive issue for most Asia-Pacific countries, there have been far too many incidents involving seafarers and ships because of relaxed legislation. The time has come to look at the issue to invigorate the role of national administrations in the region and to make harsh rules for operators that have benefited from the fragmentation of the market to circumnavigate the existing regulation and lower the standards of ships and seafarer’s employment,” said Hanafi, also chairman of the Indonesian Seafarers’ Union (KPI).

ITF’s senior secretary Fabricio Barcellona said that the event was particularly important because the ITF affiliates in the region, whose members account for more than half of the seafarers and fisheries employed on the worldwide fleet were facing uncertainty because of the global economic crisis, which in the recent past has eroded further job opportunities.

Jon Whitlow, the secretary of ITF’s seafarers and fisheries section, said that although piracy in the Indian Ocean had not yet been eradicated, the ITF and the maritime industry at large, had committed to an unprecedented joint campaign to make tireless efforts to counter the effects of the criminal actions of pirates against the free trade of goods.

“The Naval forces patrolling the area, in spite of the limited availability of ships and resources, have been exceptionally efficient to limit the attacks and the establishment of a joint Naval Forces and Maritime Industry Committee, and, in my opinion, has resulted in a better coordination and exchange of information, which ultimately has improved the entire situation in the area.

Also, with the forthcoming introduction of new international legislation, such as the Maritime Labour Convention 2006, there is an immediate need for the ITF affiliates to build up or to continue constructive dialogue with relevant countries and ship operator organizations to ensure seafarers and employers in the region are well-equipped to comply with requirements to remain competitive in the global market,” he said.

Source: The Jakarta Post

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