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Liberian Shipowners' Council Opposes ITF "Week of Action"

Faced with stepped-up efforts by the International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF) to combat the rise of "flag of convenience" shipping, the largest association of owners and operators using Open Registry, the Liberian Shipowners' Association, has issued a statement. "We are facing yet another attempt by the ITF to threaten open registry shipowners with boycott action," said Jeremy M.S.

Smith, general secretary of the is in the context of a confused number of accusations about the welfare of seafarers employed on open registry vessels." A call for minimum international standards on labor relations for seafarers is certainly praiseworthy, but the ITF says it supports the many international conventions that maritime nations the world over — including open registries have vigorously supported.

"Responsible shipowners have long been concerned with maintaining high labor relations standards for seafarers, regardless of flag," said Mr. Smith. "The best thing we as an industry can do to improve working conditions for seafarers is to get substandard ships to comply. The ITF should turn its considerable power and attention to improving conditions onboard substandard ships and penalizing owners who do not comply with international labor standards." The ITF affiliates national unions in all branches of transportation. In the case of open registries, the ITF enforces its polices by threatening a shipowner with boycott action if there is no agreement with the crew on conditions that are acceptable to the ITF.

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