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LEADERS TALK: What Are Your Views On The Working Conditions For Crew Members On Fishing Vessels In The Region?

LEADERS TALK: What Are Your Views On The Working Conditions For Crew Members On Fishing Vessels In The Region?
From left: Charles Hufflett, Patricia Kailola, Meli Raicebe and John Kasu.
September 26
10:45 2015

Over the years, working conditions on some fishing vessels have become a growing issue.

Crew members of these vessels have openly come out to talk about the issues they have faced.

Fiji and the Pacific have had several workers employed by the fishing vessels out of their country and have faced similar problems.

Experts in the field have come forward to talk about this issue explaining the treatments faced.

Many time workers are tricked into the field due to the lack of the knowledge or the language barrier.

The workers were being taken to the vessels with the promise of higher pay. However, when they are on the vessels, what was expected is not provided.

With the personal experiences faced by these crew members, the regional organisations have come forward to show support and eliminate these issues.

The organisations and ministries have spoken and educated people on their rights and signing of contracts.

Many of crew members who face these issues are from the tuna fishing vessels.

The Pacific is the largest tuna fishery in the world and we are most vulnerable to these schemes.

The 5th Regional Tuna and Trade Conference held this week in Fiji was a two-day forum which encouraged dialogue on the issues faced by the region on the Tuna industry as a whole.


Charles Hufflett, Fiji Tuna Boat Owners Association Constituent member

I don’t believe this issue applies to Fiji. If a Fiji flag vessel was doing that, she is breaching Fijian law. Fijian laws are very strong on labour conditions, crew conditions and the food they get and so on. I am pretty confident it is not a Fiji Flag vessel problem.”


Patricia Kailola, Pacific Dialogue Limited acting chief executive

There has been no report of fishing vessels poor crew conditions in the Pacific which is rather amazing when you recognise that the Pacific is the largest tuna fishery in the world. But we can’t assume that the entire vessel captain and everyone else on the vessels are perfect gentlemen. I sure that most of the people here who are working in the fisheries actually have seen much more poor conditions of the crew members but have failed to report it.”


Meli Raicebe, Department of Fisheries – Offshore Fisheries Division – Fisheries Officer

The issue of conditions on vessels for local fishing crew members is something that is emerging in discussions in regional and international forums. I may not be able to directly comment on what these conditions are; I am able to comment on how nations could assist in protecting crew members on these vessels. One way is to have relevant legal provisions that protect these crew members. Laws should not be limited to areas of national jurisdiction but should extend beyond national jurisdiction. This would mean having extra territorial rights. Thirdly by raising awareness and educating crew members on what is involved with being a seafarer. It is also pinnacle to educate them on what needed to be addressed within the contracts they may have with vessel operators. This would protect them if issues of poor working conditions do come up.”


John Kasu, PNG National Fisheries Authority (NFA) Managing Director

I think that is one of the concerns we have on crew- members on the boat. That is what we have been looking at the terms and conditions of the crew members on the boat. What we are facing now is that the when crew members come on board, they won’t stay on the boat for too long. High turnover of crew and a lot of reasons they give is the condition is not really good on terms and condition like salary need to be worked on.”













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