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Mohamed Arrachedi ITF network Coordinator for Arab world and Iran in exclusive interview with ” Blue Economy”

The ITF is present in 147 countries and is the voice for 20 millions of transport workers

Mohamed Arrachedi( Spanish Nationality ) is one of the Maritime officials of International Transport Workers Federation

( ITF) who does not know taste of sleep !

His responsibility How to solve the problems of seafarers in the Arab region and Iran since 2018 and help them against arbitrariness and injustice

Mohamed Arrachedi is an ITF inspector who does not know the meaning of  the Impossible 

In his press the first interview with Arab press ,He answered about of question marks with Magdy Sadek .    

This is the text of the press interview and it is first thread!

Q- At first, what about the International transport worker   federation ( ITF) ?And what is its relationship with other unions concerned  organizations ?

A-The ITF, International transport workers federation is a democratic and independent confederation of Transport unions who represent and defends the rights of the Transport workers in the world.

The ITF is present in 147 countries and is the voice for 20 millions of transport workers.Our headquarters is located in London with regional offices in Amman, Brussels, Nairobi, New Delhi, Ouagadougou, Rio de Janeiro, Singapore, Sydney and Tokyo.

In the maritime Sector, the ITF represents and defends the interests of the Seafarers and Dockers. The ITF FOC campaign is running since 1948.THE ITF has a team of 136 inspectors and contacts assisting the seafarers globally. This is a real unique platform that supports and defends seafarers’ rights.

In 2018, the ITF secured 10509 ship visits, and secured and recuperated in concept of unpaid wages to the crew of different nationalities the value of : 37.839,089  USD nearly 38 million dollars

Q-How many country members in your Organization ITF, and what is relation with workers unions in the world? Also, is it independent union away from governments?

A-The ITF is present in 147 countries and is the voice for 20 millions of transport workers. And is open to any independent democratic union with members in the transport sectors.

Q-What is about the role of ITF towards the Charter of seafarers “Rights and labor standard”? 

A-The ITF is one promoters of the MLC. As ITF we played a major role in conceiving and defending, and promoting the establishment and ratification and application of the MLC. The MLC was like the 4th Pillar that was missing to the maritime industry after STCW, Marpol and SOLAS. It is the one who comes to cover the emptiness regarding the working conditions of the thousands and millions of seafarers working on the ships.

This a real challenge to have managed to make it happen, taking into account the globalized nature of the maritime industry, and the FOC system etc,,

Q-Is the Maritime Labor Convention 2006 a unified agreement for all seafarers and Are maritime legislations in Egypt or other non- members Arab countries recognize this convention in issuing rules or judgments?

A-Yes the MLC is to defend the rights of the seafarers worldwide and is intended to cover the really minimum of these rights that should be respected everywhere, regardless of the flag and the country where the ship is.

There are countries that have not ratified, but these are aware, that despite they have not ratified, the MLC is applicable on the ships that chose their flag, if their ship is in a ratifying port country..Egypt has not yet ratified the MLC, and ratifying it will be a good step forwards for the benefit of the Egyptian seafarers, and for the benefit of all the seafarers calling Egyptian ports, as well  as good for the ports of Egypt as whole.

Q-What is the ITF role in encouraging more countries to ratify the 2006 Convention and what does it mean to address the Issues facing seafarers in the world against harmonization flags?

A-The ITF plays an active and constant role in ties aspect.We do assist countries; maritime authorities’ through seminars, trainings, educational programs to put in value the importance of ratification of the MLC.

Q-This is an ongoing Task and central in the daily work of the ITF.

A-The assistance of seafarers in need of help on FOC ships, is another central and priority work the ITF does.

For example in the Arab world, we are especially active on very difficult and absorbing cases of abandonments in many countries.

The ITF has created a Network into the Arab World (that I do coordinate for the ITF), where structured and organized response and assistance and solidarity and help is given to the seafarers from all over the word calling Arab World ports.

The requests of assistance are increasing from the Arab World region, and for exa, in 2017, the ITF attended 79 calls of assistance, and managed to get wages back to the seafarers of these ships ascending to usd 633.542 , and in 2018, the ITF assisted seafarers in 98 cases, nearly all of them of abandonment, and collected usd1.775.451.

The 2019 is unfortunately also a challenging year with lots of calls from seafarers to be assisted.

Why does Egypt refuse to join this union and its agreements? You see what is reasons  ?

A-The ITF is as mentioned  a Union confederation, hence, its members are transport unions, not States.

In Egypt, the ITF union members are: General union of transport workers and services /GUTWS and Professional Syndicate of Seafarers /PSS and Union Committee of Suez Canal authority in Port Said / UCSCAPS.

Is there a new strategy adopt by ITF to include other new countries as members and unified labor   convention, including  Egypt ?

The ITF objective is clearly established: in the maritime sector this means to defend the rights of the seafarers, Dockers and all transport workers in general.

That includes to promote freedom of association, and social justice, and help our affiliated union to defend the interests of its members, including of course proving research and Training to ITF members.

What is Egypt,s benefit from joining that Union ?

The membership as mentioned above is of Transport unions, not as States.

Criminalization one of the most important problems facing seafarers today, what is the role of ITF in facing such cases for example as detention, kidnapping ,piracy, or even fabrication of accusations ?! 

This is a very central issue in the ITF job indeed.

The ITF works closely at many levels including with its unions members, International ship owners associations ads well international competent bodies to have these major challenging issues always on the eatable, to have the fair treatment and find permanent efficient solutions to these very difficult issues.

Q-How do you see the different between the Arab seafarers and foreign seafarers? And  where are the issues abound in the Arab region or other foreign countries?!

A-All seafarers do unfortunately suffer from Abuses , in many cases, as the notorious abandonment, the abuse is very very critical, and basic human rights are being constantly breached by some owners.

When it comes to abuses and breach of seafarers rights, there is no difference indeed It affects all nationalities.

Still, we can say, that the breaches definitely happen more and more in countries where there is no MLC, cause the ship owners with bad practices, do know, that the MLC is a strong instrument in the hand of the PSC/Port State control to Act in defense of the seafarers rights.

We do assist seafarers in very difficult circumstances, abandoned situations as mentioned previously.

This affects unfortunately Egyptian seafarers as well, and we can mention here for example the Egyptian seafarers   abandoned on mMT Qaaswa in Sfax/Tunisia assisted by the ITF where we could help to get thei 4 mohtns wages and repatriated, besides all the issues related to their wellbeing and basic human needs afforded , as they were particularly vulnerable here on that notorious ship, with no food and provisions,,

In this very moment, we are assisting seafarers in Syria, with Egyptian seafarers on board together with other seafarers abandoned on the Ship Lady Caroline Syria flag IMO 7909619 in the Port of Lattakia.The abandonment does not distinguish of nationalities, and the Egyptian seafarers are equally exposed unfortunately.

Q-ITF has an active role towards women seafarers?! 

A-Yes, absolutely, there are concrete plans being worked out by the ITF Regional Office in Amman to promote and focus on the role and all aspects of the woman seafarers in Arab world. Training and educational plans are being set.

Latest I know is the creation of Women seafarers Section in Algiers/Algeria few months ago with priority and exclusivity to work on women issues in the maritime industry in the Arab world, in collaboration with the ITF women section.

Q-Is the Maritime Labor Convention 2006 a unified agreement for all seafarers and Are maritime legislation in Egypt or other non- members Arab countries recognize this convention in issuing rules or judgments?   

A-The ITF has created Network of Union contacts duly trained and prepared to attend and assist seafarers in the Arab world ports.

We have contacts in Lebanon, morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain, Jordan, Sudan, Iraq, and Yemen.

We are consolidating out Network with more and better preparation, training and education to our union ITF contacts, and the results is more and more seafarers better assisted in Arab World ports definitely.

Q-In your opinion who is responsible for the deterioration of the conditions of Egyptian seafarers professionally, socially, low level and loss of their rights? 

A-The main and always responsibility is on owners in the broad and large meaning of responsibility and ownership, means crewing, management and definitely beneficial ownership.

But, when these owners fails to assume their responsibly, the flag state has responsibility towards the crew and seafarers on board.

Still, when the flag state do not assume its evident and clear responsibilities towards seafarers in distress on board  their ships, it is the PSC, port state of the ports where the ship is, that has responsibilities to assist and attend the seafarers.

 Mohamed Arrachedi

Born in Alhucemas-North morocco on 11th march 1970.

Unionist and ITF Inspector in Spain, covering spanish northeast ports of Bilbao( Pasajes, Bermeo and Santander ) since 2001 and ITF Netweork Coordinator for Arab Wrold and Iran since january 2018.

Collaborating in Education and Training programms of the ITF for the benefit of ITF unions and ITF inspectorate and contacts( Seminars on MLC, ITF Union Awareness seminars, and Training and education of  ITF Arab World contacts, field training ..

ITF Netweork Coordinator for Arab Wrold and Iran since january 2018.

International Transport Workers´federation

ITF Arab World and Iran Network Coordinator

ITF Inspectorate Office

Email: arrachedi_mohamed@itf.org.uk

Mobile: 0034 629 41 9007

Mobile+447775449442

www.itfglobal.org —- www.itfseafarers.org

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