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2017-09-25

Taking care of seamen

The government has adopted the draft act prepared by the Minister of Maritime Economy and Inland Navigation amending the act on maritime labour and some other acts. Its purpose is to implement the EU provisions into the Polish law.

New solutions adapt the working conditions for seamen to the standards applied to the workers ashore and introduce to the Act the amendments from 2014 to the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) which provide seamen with suitable protection, e.g. in case of an illness, bodily injury or death. New provisions are to improve the working and life conditions of seamen. According to the authors of the provisions, “it is all about the provision of insurance coverage in the event of abandonment, bodily injury, illness, or death”.

Pursuant to drafted provisions, a shipowner will be required to maintain insurance or other financial security in the event of abandonment of a seaman, his or her bodily injury, illness, or death. A ship in turn will be required to have a certificate proving the security. The solution will enable a seaman or an authorised person to seek redress directly from the provider of insurance or other financial security.

Still, however, the issues regarding social security benefits and taxes of seamen have not been regulated, that is, in fact, there is still lack of positioning of seamen working in foreign shipowners in the Polish legal system. The government is currently working to regulate as a whole the employment, taxation and social care issues concerning all seamen living in our country and e.g. implement in Poland solutions applied in Croatia that would be very beneficial.

From the point of view of the Polish Ship Managers’ Association, the introduction of modern solutions in this scope would be a positive impulse for development of this activity. Especially as we would most willingly manage ships under the Polish flag, which is after all an EU flag. Our tonnage tax is very favourable for shipowners, and the only issue that may preclude the implementation of this solution are maritime issues, that is labour costs. In this respect, we compete with the whole world with regard to the shipping industry. The case is that the world will not adapt to suit us, yet we have to adapt to the solutions that are used in Europe and in the world. If we want to develop maritime economy, we need people with experience of working at sea. Especially as most of the people conducting such an activity started their professional careers as seamen working for foreign shipowners, and therefore building the brand of Polish seamen.

One of the panels at the Maritime Economy Forum Gdynia 2017 shall be dedicated to ship management.

Article developed in cooperation with "Namiary na Morze i Handel" magazine.

phot. Tadeusz Urbaniak/ZMPG-a S.A

 

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