More than 90 percent of the world’s trade tonnage is carried by a merchant fleet of some 50,000 ships. According to a report from the International Labour Organization (ILO), changes in the financing and management of these ships has led to deregulation and more flexible working conditions for seafarers, but these conditions are not always to their advantage.
(GV Masha crew) It is a long way from Bucharest to Buenos Aires, but the Romanian crew of the Masha never thought the voyage would end there. They are well trained and work hard. They are also unpaid for months and must endure abominable living and working conditions. Their faith in their contract with a timeless industry is sorely being tested.
Edward Secuiu, seafarer on the Masha
When we signed the contract, we saw the paper, Chicago, Illinois, very good company, US company. But when we came here we saw the other members in problem with the company, so we said, oh man, what’s the problem here?
The problem is an industry in flux. More than 90 percent of the world’s trade tonnage is carried by a merchant fleet of some 50,000 ships. According to a report from the International Labor Org.(ILO), changes in the financing and management of these ships has led to deregulation and more flexible working conditions for seafarers, conditions that are not always to their advantage.
Jean Yves Legouas
Sometimes crews are ill treated and this is the problem. We should see that more often a ship is not just a mass of iron and steel, It’s composed of flesh and blood, and this flesh and blood has to be treated as human beings should be treated.
As globalization spread trade to more countries, the shipping industry responded by building more but not necessarily better ships.This overproduction and ensuing competition has sunk many a ship owner and left seafarers adrift when it comes to their rights. But Roberto Alarcon of the International Transport Workers Federation applies ILO convention 147 that guarantees basic standards for seafarers under international law to help out the Masha crew.
Roberto Alarcon, Inspector, International Transport Federation, ITF
We need to put an end to these situations. Sailors should not become the slaves of the 21st century.
A sense of abandonment surrounds the crew. For Misha Mircea this voyage is the isappointing end of a lifelong dream of a life at sea.
Misha Mircea, seafarer on the Masha
Now we are in the 21st century. Its unbelievable to go to sea without water, without any ways of communications, sometimes without food.
For the crew of the Masha, time can only tell what will become believable again.