Friday, May 27, 2011


Within the last couple of weeks some very disturbing information about seafarers shore-leave came across the NAUTICAL LOG desk.  With vessels spending so little time in Ports these days and the Ports themselves particularly container berths being so remote it is difficult to grant shore-leave.  When one discovers it is actually forbidden to certain ethnic groups of seafarers in certain countries then it becomes a humanitarian issue.  This type of second-class treatment of seafarers is absolutely guaranteed to rattle the NAUTICAL LOG cage!!

So what is the actual problem?  It seems that countries are taking it upon themselves to refuse entry, transfer of crews, shore leave, and exit if the seafarer holds Seaman's Papers issued by certain countries.  The data received by NAUTICAL LOG referred to Philippine Seaman's Papers and Brazil.  Brazilian Immigration Authorities have issued a Directive enforceable in all Brazilian Ports that states seafarers in possession of Seaman's Papers or Passport issued by countries not a party to ILO Maritime Labour Convention are not allowed to:

1. disembark or join
2. go ashore
3. conduct transfer of crews

If this Directive is violated then seafarers involved can be fined up to US$1000 each.  As long as the crew remains on board the fines are not to be levied.   This Directive appears to be in direct violation of other International Laws regarding Seaman's Papers.  As regards Passports it is another issue entirely because they come under quite different International Laws directing the issuance and handling of Passports.

From Brazil, which is not exactly a bastion of moral behaviour or good government, such a Directive is ludicrous.  A minimum research on the Internet about Brazil will reveal the dreadful poverty of the favelas, extremely violent policing methods, rampant crime, every deviant behaviour possible, as seen on its beaches and in its clubs, finally there is the annual Mardis Gras (Fat Tuesday) or Party Gross. 

Perhaps the seafarers are better off not going ashore and certainly a lot safer.

all too typical favela
Meantime of course the Brazilians are quite willing to have these seafarers mann the ships that trade with Brazil handling imports and exports making the chosen persons extremely rich.  As can be seen from the above photo the differences between the 'have' and 'have-nots' are extreme.  This is a prime example of moral turpitude.

Good Watch.

Please remember the seafarers held captive by pirates off Somalia - let us work with maritime interests and other to free them.  SOS Save Our Seafarers - other maritime Blogs please copy or develop your own message.


sewa mobil said...

Nice article, thanks for the information.

Paul, Dammit! said...

I'm not too surprised to hear about this; Brazil is undergoing some serious growing pains, and it seems like the economic boom is just throwing gasoline on the fire there- they've still got a banana republic's infrastructure, and a wildly socialist police-state government (imagine the chaos in running a leftist state under police-state control, where the legal authorities are so underpaid as to make graft impossible to avoid). Still, with the right publicity, this could be an embarassment as the current president attempts to showcase Brazil's new face to international investors.
...and I am going there in 5 more weeks.

Barista Uno said...

I am told that Filipinos are exempt from the restrictions/fines as they fall under what is called category no. 8 (visa exemption - VITEM II). The exemption under VITEM II will be granted upon arrival at the airport/seaport with no further requirements needed. However, one Brazilian lawyer reports that their federal police treat seafarers even from countries that have ratified Convention 108 no differently from other foreigners, which means these seafarers are obliged to show their visa. This is a big problem as manning agents in Manila say it takes 2-3 months for the visa application to be approved.

Paul, Dammit! said...

At the risk of entering a circular argument, my understanding is that this push to create punitive damages targeting non ILO-member states merely has the effect of targeting seafarers- the shipowner will undoubtedly offer the men a chance to go home and risk running the gauntlet while in Brazil, or wait to go to the next port, wherever that may be. Either way, the indiscriminate vessel owner wins. This, to me, would provide more incentive to ignore the ILO when it's possible to do so.