Nautilus to Lobby Trade Union Congress on Behalf of Superyacht Crew

Nautilus International the union for seafarers working in cargo ships and superyachts will tell delegates at next week’s Trade Union Congress of there concerns that Superyacht crews are being exploited by unscrupulous owners and management companies.

The union believes that safety breaches and abuse cases often escape investigation and that lack of regulation and use of flags of convenience mean some crew work long hours in brutal conditions,

Nautilus seeks support from other unions in a campaign that will enforce the Maritime Labour Convention.

“Seafaring is one of the world’s most dangerous jobs and superyachts are no different,” said Andrew Linington, director of campaigns at the union. “There has been no shortage of horrendous accidents, and some cases where badly injured crew or the relatives of those who have been killed on superyachts have received no compensation.”

Casework handled by the union on behalf of crews on superyachts has included unpaid wages, the confiscation of passports, injuries, bullying and harassment.

With more than 33,000 crew employed in a fleet that has grown by 77 percent in less than a decade to become one consisting of 4,500 superyachts, variations in regulations around the world make it difficult to investigate and pursue legal action over accidents and claims of bad treatment.

While the union welcomed the increase in employment and recognises there are many responsible owners, it cited a survey of crews carried out by the Seafarers International Research Centre (SIRC) at Cardiff University which found that 75 % of crew are worried about job security, and more than 40 % have faced bullying or harassment.

The 41 page SIRC report covered all aspects of seafarers living and working conditions and was commissioned by the PYA and completed as a result of discussions the PYA had with the ILO in 2010.

“The crew surveyed by SIRC served on superyachts operating under a total of 45 different registers, all of which creates a jurisdictional nightmare when it comes to dealing with accident investigation or determining liability for compensation,” Linington said. “It’s vital that the Maritime Labour Convention is applied to the superyacht industry and enforced by the countries who register these vessels or host them in their ports.”