The seafarers’ union criticizes the denial of shore leave for the crew Seafarers News

A union of merchant marine officers has given the authorities a two-week ultimatum to resolve the issue of Indian merchant marine seamen being denied shore leave in many ports across the country.

The Maritime Union of India (MUI), which represents Indian officers working aboard ships, has threatened protest actions including dharna and hunger strikes by seafarers if the issue is not resolved.

The MUI’s position on denial of shore leave to seafarers is supported by the Maritime Association of Shipowners Shipmanagers and Agents (MASSA) and the Foreign Owners Representatives and Ship Managers Association (FOSMA).

Shore leave is the period during which a seafarer, after an exhausting voyage from the previous port, is permitted to leave the ship on which he is serving while the ship is in port.

Shore leave is a fundamental right of seafarers worldwide.

The Maritime Labor Convention (MLC), adopted by the International Labor Organization (ILO) in 2006, provides that seafarers are granted shore leave to promote their health and well-being and to ensure that shore-based welfare facilities, where they exist, are easily accessible. The importance of ensuring efficient access to shore facilities and shore leave for the welfare of seafarers is also recognized in the ILO Conventions on seafarers’ identity documents.

The MLC was ratified by India in 2015.

It is therefore very shocking when Indian seafarers are not allowed to disembark in their own country’s seaports, Captain Tushar Pradhan, MUI, told a media conference in Mumbai on Friday.

Seafarers working on merchant ships face many challenges and hardships due to their job, which involves spending several months on board.

Months of working away from their families, unpredictable weather and sea conditions, delays due to inclement weather, changes in itineraries by the owner/charter — all have a direct impact on mental and physical well-being, according to the MUI.

“The denial of shore leave affects the mindset, health and well-being of seafarers. This can affect their performance and morale and lead to unwanted incidents on board and at sea.

Acute boredom and mental and physical exhaustion are dangerous states of mind and body that lead to loss of concentration and frustration, and can potentially lead to accidents to ourselves, the ship, cargo and the environment,” the MUI said.

“They need to go ashore for a few hours to shop for essentials, meet family and friends, use shore facilities and refresh their minds. Seafarers are social creatures and occasionally need to be in the company of others, especially after long and difficult sea voyages,” the union said.

“Cruise ship passengers will be granted shore leave. And if air passengers are allowed to enter the country and disembark, why are genuine Indian seafarers serving on merchant ships and in possession of a valid Seafarers Identity Document (SID) issued by the Government of India not allowed to do so refused to go ashore? ” They asked.

Locking seafarers on board when their ships are in port would be tantamount to imposing house arrest.

“We therefore believe that innocent seafarers are being wronged through no fault of their own.

Not allowing them to go ashore will only lead to frustration and a loss of morale. This unhealthy practice has deadly psychological and physical effects and entire families have suffered from the suffering of their loved ones. “This is not a healthy condition at all,” MUI said.

A lack of shore leave and a refreshed mindset has led to numerous accidents due to fatigue; and in some cases the sailors fell into depression, felt worthless and may have even taken a heavy toll on their lives.

“This is a serious problem that needs to be addressed at every possible level. “There is no reason why a logical solution cannot be implemented within the framework of the regulations, including the security aspect,” the MUI added

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