On the 3rd April 2019, the engaged meeting of All-Ukrainian Association of Crewing Companies (VOKK) took place in Odessa. Format of engaged meeting was chosen because of importance and urgency of matters arisen. There were just two items on the Agenda – work of the system of licensing seafarers in the conditions implemented by newly founded Marine Administration and revision of the draft law on labour migration.
There were expressed quite tough opinions on the first item of agenda – newly appointed Harbour Masters are not so competent, as well as the main part of officials of Marine Administration, which will definitely lead to the problems in this very important area.
Executive Director of the Ukrainian Chamber of Shipping Capt. Tikhonov took part in this forum as a speaker. He introduced proposals of the Ukrainian Chamber of Shipping for the reformation of the national system of the training and certification of the seafarers. The general idea of these proposals – the seafarer should have ‘single window’ system for obtaining his qualification document. Such ‘window’ should be very clear and transparent.
This system should replace established system of so-called ‘Service Centres’, which doesn’t exist anywhere in the world.
The participants of the forum decided to discuss this matter as wide as possible, for which purpose to distribute special questionnaire.
The second Agenda item was also subject for tough discussion, because mentioned draft law is closely concerns the activity of crewing companies. In fact, the aim of this draft law is to create special Government office (with ministerial level) for monitoring and control of labour migration. Such office would have total control on the manning industry and functions of licensing of the crewing companies.
The mutual opinion of the all participants was that this draft law is very far from reality and doesn’t consider specific of maritime crewing business – the seafarers according to it are labour migrants, thus crewing companies have to provide volumes of documents and reports, some of them don’t have sense at all. Meantime, according to existing international practice, Conventions and regulations, seafarers are considered as special category of labour, apart of migrants; employment and movement of seafarers are under regulation of special international instruments (MLC Convention first of all, which still is not ratified by the Ukrainian Governmant).
On the basis of above said, the attendees decided to issue their negative opinion regarding proposed draft law. They also asked to simplify regulations on registration and monitoring of crewing companies according to the rules, existing in EU, and called for soonest ratification of the MLC Convention.
Participants of this forum considered it as very productive and prospective, they agreed to continue tradition of making such engaged forums. Needless to say that NI members took an active part in the forum and the discussions.