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Today is Sunday, September 23, 2018

More Bother from Brazil

1 April, 2011

At the start of this year, we previously made comment on the practice of some ports in Brazil of imposing fines on vessel crew members have not ratified either of the ILO conventions on seafarers identification documents. These are ILO 108 (1958) entered into force on 19 February 1961 or its replacement ILO 185 (2003) adopted on 19 June 2003 and came into force 19 February 2005. To refresh your memories on the action taken by Brazil that has now been put to rights, please go to this link –http://www.faceofshipping.com/user/topic/blog_beware_brazil.asp.

Very recently, we have been informed that Brazil as a country has decided that seafarers who do not hold a seafarers identification document from a flag state that has ratified either of the seafarers identification document ILO conventions will not be allowed shore leave in Brazilian ports.

Ports also includes the facilities at which aircraft arrive and there, immigration authorities can order the repatriation to their country of origin with clearance and air travel costs to the account of the seafarer / owner. Offending seafarers will be repatriated on the first available aircraft seat. 

It is not known if Brazil will accept seafarers identification documents held by them issued by a flag state of which they are not a national.

Brazil has rescinded the original convention ILO 108 and in its place has ratified ILO 185. It is perhaps significant that the seafarers' identity document issue is the only convention relating to seafarers that was not incorporated into the MLC 2006 for ratification status, please go this link – http://www.ilo.org/ilolex/cgi-lex/ratifce.pl?C186. As will be noted 18 more flag states need to ratify before the clock starts ticking for its entry into force.

For a list of nations that have ratified and denounced ILO 108, please go this link –http://www.ilo.org/ilolex/english/convdisp1.htm and for the revised C 185, please go to this link – http://www.ilo.org/ilolex/english/convdisp1.htm. Of significance, China and the Philippines did not ratify ILO 108 while India did so on 17 January 2005. Brazil ratified on 21 January 2010.

China, India and the Philippines are major providers of professional maritime manpower have yet to ratify C185.

Both C108 and C185 have specific requirements to allow shore leave, transit and transfer of seafarers that signatory flag states are obliged to follow. Perhaps this is why some may never ratify and others are being slow to do so. Under its latest Coast Guard act, the USA there is provision for the free transportation of seafarers within terminals. However, will it ratify C185?

C185 and the MLC have significant impacts on the welfare of seafarers but as always, it seems that the well-being of seafarers is like always very low down on political agenda lists.

Jim Nicoll

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