Around Australia, workers at various terminals and ports have come together in support of visiting seafarers on international ships to host barbecues and share a meal on the International Day of the Seafarer.
Day of the Seafarer was launched in 2011 as a dedicated opportunity to recognise the contribution and sacrifice of the global seafaring workforce.
Dan Crumlin, International Transport Workers’ Federation inspector NSW, told DCN seafarers visiting Australia’s ports on 25 June were treated to an Aussie celebration.
“MUA dockers around the country cooked an Australian barbeque for these hard-working seafarers who at the height of the pandemic saw some 400,000 seafarers stuck at sea away from family and friends,” Mr Crumlin said.
“[These seafarers often had] limited or no communication, unable to get home to their loved ones and unable to enjoy shore leave in ports all around the world, and in some cases spending more than 14 to 15 months onboard.”
At Port Botany in Sydney, Patrick Terminals stevedores invited the crews from the vessels in the port to enjoy a breakfast barbeque, which Mr Crumlin said was warmly received by the seafarers.
“In Melbourne, both VICT and Patrick Terminals dockers also joined in the celebrations to say thanks for the valuable contributions seafarers have made to keep the world moving through the pandemic,” he said.
Mr Crumlin said that, despite the success of the events, it also highlighted the ongoing challenges around shore leave.
“Some captains, shipping companies and charterers are still yet to comprehend that access to shore leave is a fundamental right under the Maritime Labour Convention 2006, of which Australia is a signatory,” Mr Crumlin said.
Mr Crumlin noted the ITF has been pushing for seafarers to have access to shore leave, especially as Australian authorities have lifted or eased restrictions and public health orders.
“The ITF along with others have been calling for the need for seafarers to access shore leave as a right under MLC 2006 for their welfare, mental health and to reduce fatigue on board,” he said.
“We welcome AMSA’s recent announcement they will be enforcing the MLC if it has found captains, shipping companies or charterers are denying any crew this basic fundamental right and the ITF will be reporting any breaches we may come across.”