Chinese Crews Cleared to Conduct Crew Changes in Brazil

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  • MUA Turns Down Patrick’s EA Proposal Deadline

Chinese crews have been allowed to embark, disembark and go ashore in Brazil after five years of suspension, according to the Shipping Protection Ship Services from Brazil.

The shipping agency told World Maritime News that it has obtained authorization from Brazilian authorities for all Chinese crews holding Chinese seaman book to carry out crew changes again and go ashore in all Brazilian ports.

Since 2011, the Brazilian immigration authorities have prohibited Chinese crew members holding Chinese seaman books to embark and disembark as well as to go ashore in Brazilian ports, having in view the International Labour Organization (ILO) Conventions 108 and 158, of which China is not a signatory country.

The adoption of the directive applied to seafarers from all countries that are not party to the ILO conventions, who were told to refrain from effecting crew changes in Brazilian ports, as there was a risk that on arrival in Brazil the substituting seafarer would not be permitted to leave the airport and, as a consequence, would be directed to return to his country of origin.

The terms of the directive also stated that in the event of non-compliance the seafarer(s) concerned would be fined as much as USD 1,000 per seafarer.

“However, as shipping agents and after investigating the above matter deeply, we have learnt of the existence of an Agreement signed between the Government of Brazil and the Government of the People’s Republic of China in 1980 which is still in force but it was not being respected by Brazil,” the agency said.

After several consultations with the Head of the Brazilian Immigration in Brasilia and thereafter the Presidency of Brazil regarding this issue, the Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Immigration Division Control in Brasilia determined early this week that based on the said agreement, which is still valid, Chinese crew members holding Chinese seaman book are again authorized to embark, disembark and go ashore in all Brazilian ports, the agency explained.

Meanwhile, the Maritime Union of Australia said today that it has rejected the arbitrary deadline put in place by the management of Patrick Stevedores for its final offer on a new enterprise agreement for four stevedore Patrick’s terminals.

The dockworkers at port of Botany’s Patrick container terminal halted all operations on Wednesday launching a 48-hour strike as 260 people voiced their protest against the failure to reach a deal on a new wage agreement after a year of talks.

The company and the union tried to agree on extended working hours, as the company requested the dockworkers provide more labor on midnights and weekends. In turn, the dockworkers wanted the company to provide more job security, as almost 200 people lost their jobs as a direct result of automation.

Meanwhile, the company’s management is said to have prepared a new offer for the workers, giving them 36 hours to give a reply.

Local media said that the proposed deal provides a pay rise of 1% in the first year, 2.5% in the second year and 2.75% in each of the last two years, among other things.

“In correspondence to the company today, MUA Deputy National Secretary Will Tracey said it was absurd to expect a response in 36 hours to an 18 page document that cross references several other detailed documents as well as various ongoing discussions at four different terminals,” MUA added.

According to Tracey, a response on the proposal could not be given before next Friday, April 22nd, as the union needed time to discuss the proposal with all of the relevant stakeholders.

“The actions across the various terminals are because of both national and local claims and the company seeks to shift the goal posts each time we reach the position they state they seek,” he added.

“Both Fremantle and Port Botany have outstanding local issues around the roster that applies to permanents and we are seeking some certainty for workers over hours of work within a framework of the flexibility required to service a modern stevedoring company.

“All four terminals have issues with Patrick reneging on its initial salary offer in the space of a week – something we haven’t encountered in negotiations with this company since we first began the process of enterprise agreement negotiations in the early 1990s,” he said.

“Issues around job security, a transparent and accountable allocation of labour, safety clauses and officers, the certainty of the productivity bonus system, redundancies, process of change in the terminals and management of company policies also remain outstanding within national discussions.”

World Maritime News