ITF Wins Historic Protection For Merkur Sky Crew

Australian ITF wins protection for workers and introduces a German shipping company to its first ever ITF agreement.

The Australian ITF has reached a historic outcome for crew on board the FOC Merkur Sky.

Australian ITF Coordinator Mr Dean Summers has commended the Cypriot-based management company Bernard Schulte for their actions to settle the dispute on board the Merkur Sky in Melbourne.

These actions, working with the ITF, have delivered great results for the crew on board.

The Australian ITF had put the ship in dispute after receiving dramatic reports of physical abuse of Filipino and Burmese seafarers by ships officers.

The Merkur Sky has been docked in Melbourne since 3 May, and is owned by German company F A Vinnen and Co.

Mr Summers said that if the Maritime Labour Convention had already been in place it would been the job of AMSA inspectors to investigate and fix the problems on board.

However, as the MLC is yet to be enforced, the ITF and MUA members stepped into the legal breach to demand protection for the crew.

"As a direct result of ITF action this ship is now industrially and socially covered by a fair workplace agreement and the crew protected from intimidation and exploitation," said Mr Summers.

"This has also put the plight of foreign crews employed on the 8 sister ships left in the Vennin fleet on our radar and we are confident of having them all covered soon."

Vennin is a German shipping company with a 180 year old pedigree and have a fleet of 9 FOC container vessels.

"We are very happy to introduce this traditional German company to their first ITF agreement and the benefits of a collaborative approach to seafarers working and living conditions."

The Merkur Sky was on her first trip to Australia after trading in the Middle East for a number of years and is understood to be using Australian permits on her Cabotage trading leg.