Wednesday, April 24, 2024
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Advancing Montenegro’s maritime employment: Navigating towards positive change

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Representatives of the Seafarers’ Union have described the employment situation in the maritime sector as perplexing, citing the recent proposal by the government for a law on maritime agency activities as a crucial step towards regulating this field comprehensively.

The Union emphasized that prior to this proposed legislation, the absence of proper laws left the sector adrift, leading to confusion and ad hoc solutions.

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“The introduction of this law was long overdue, and it’s not a case of the government reinventing the wheel but fulfilling its overdue obligation from a decade ago. This law is pivotal as it establishes a framework for procedures governing the employment of seafarers, from contract signing to disembarkation,” stated the Union.

The proposed law aims to define the conditions for maritime agency activities, delineate the rights and responsibilities of maritime agents and intermediaries, prescribe the procedures for maintaining the registry of maritime agents, and establish oversight mechanisms.

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Highlighting the prevalent issues, the Union pointed out that seafarers often found themselves paying substantial sums to “agents” facilitating their embarkation, a practice frowned upon internationally and especially in regulated systems.

They stressed the significance of adherence to international regulations such as the MLC Convention on the Work of Seafarers, which places specific emphasis on crewing agencies. Each member state of the IMO undergoes regular inspections to ensure compliance with these regulations.

The Union expressed satisfaction with the cooperation from the current government and underlined the importance of laws such as the Law on Maritime Safety and the overhaul of regulations on professions to adapt to evolving international standards.

Regarding last year’s ’emsa’ inspection, which exposed ongoing challenges, particularly in the maritime administration, the Union emphasized the need for collaborative efforts among various government departments to address these deficiencies promptly.

Furthermore, the Union advocated for the introduction of electronic issuance and renewal of documents and certificates for seafarers, citing the need for modernization and efficiency in administrative processes.

While the registry of Montenegrin seafarers has been developed, its operationalization remains pending. The Union underscored the registry’s significance in providing accurate data on the country’s seafaring workforce and facilitating its integration into the global labor market.

In conclusion, the Union reiterated its commitment to continued collaboration with relevant authorities to ensure the effective implementation of laws and regulations governing the maritime sector, thereby fostering a conducive environment for seafarers and maritime agencies alike.

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