Turkish Parliament to ratify maritime convention for protection of seafarers


A parliamentary commission has approved the Maritime Labour Convention, which addresses some of the difficulties encountered by Turkish seafarers in international ports.

The parliamentary Foreign Affairs Commission on Wednesday approved the Maritime Labour Convention, which was adopted by the International Labour Organization (ILO) in 2006 and establishes minimum working and living standards for crewmembers of ships whose flags belong to signatory states.

The agreement still needs to be put to a full vote on the floor, and the president must sign it for the convention to become part of Turkish law.

Among other provisions, the agreement mandates that ship owners provide financial security for seafarers in the event of occupational injury.

The deputy director of the sea trade department of the Transportation, Maritime Affairs and Communications Ministry, Arif Yağız, said the agreement would also address the difficulties faced by Turkish seafarers at foreign ports, according to the minutes of the commission meeting recently published on the Parliament website.

“As we know, due to the incongruence with [some] countries in [regulations] on sea trade, problems arise and leave our ships stuck [in foreign ports]. This agreement is crucial for improving the condition of our seafarers as it regulates their living conditions and imposes responsibilities on the host countries in that regard,” Yağız said.

Turkish ship owners’ fly foreign flags to evade taxes

During the commission meeting, Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy Oğuz Kaan Salıcı raised the issue of the majority of Turkish ships sailing under the flags of other countries in order to evade taxes.

Salıcı asked Yağız about government measures to prevent sailing under foreign flags, which is done by almost 70 percent of Turkish vessels. Yağız, noting that an average of 73 percent of ships worldwide are foreign registered, said his ministry and the Labor and Social Security Ministry have been in talks for pushing Turkish ship owners to fly their own nation’s flag.