News release June 23, 2015 10:30 ET
Seafarers Need Less Lip Service From Canada — and More Action on Eradicating Dangerous, Criminal FOC Shipping Industry
Trade Deals Put Our Marine Environment at Clear Risk
VANCOUVER, BC (Marketwired – June 23, 2015) — Industry should pay less lip service to mariners on the International Day of the Seafarer on June 25 — and instead acknowledge that the Flag-of-Convenience (FOC) ships they work aboard pose severe and increasing risk to Canada’s marine environment and to the health and welfare of the workers that make Canadian trade possible.
Although Canada recently signed on to the international Maritime Labour Convention that lays out minimum standards for seafarers’ living and working conditions, the Harper government is also aggressively pursuing the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) that would open Canadian coastal trade to foreign ships, precisely because the crew are cheaper and more easily exploited by the Flag-of-Convenience industry.
“It’s ironic, and it’s appalling,” says Peter Lahay, Canadian coordinator for the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF). “No sooner do we pick up one tool to help us protect the foreign workers who move our goods, than we blow up the industry that provides our own seafarers with decent jobs.
“Many will use International Seafarers Day to pay lip service to the challenges faced by seafarers. But FOCs pose risks to Canada’s marine environment as well. Keep reading!