CSR Tracks Unscrupulous Recruiting Firm

Monday, September 16, 2002
The Center for Seafarers' Rights (CSR) of the Seamen's Church Institute of New York & New Jersey is again protesting the illegal recruiting practices of Al-Najat Marine Shipping LLC. Over the past week, CSR received several reports that the Al-Najat Marine Shipping LLC, a United Arab Emirates company, is offering to recruit Indian nationals for positions aboard cruise ships by contacting various employment agencies in India, including the OverSeas Comm. Company. It appears that Al-Najat has attempted this recruitment without involving any Indian governmental office. "Al-Najat is cheating poor people again," said Douglas B. Stevenson, Director of the Center for Seafarers' Rights. "The e-mail CSR is receiving from skeptical people researching the company on the internet reveals that even they really want to believe the ads. We suspect, however, that most unemployed Indian nationals seeking these jobs do not have access to internet information regarding this scam, which is why Al-Najat can successfully operate."

The Center for Seafarers' Rights has contacted the Indian Labour Minister in Delhi and the Indian ambassador to the United States in Washington, D.C. about AL-Najat's past practices in Kenya and Morocco. "The Indian government must act quickly because every passing day gives giving Al-Najat enough time to collect lots of illegal fees before official action," said Stevenson. Last summer in Kenya, Al-Najat claimed to have 50,000 jobs available to Kenyan citizens for work aboard cruise vessels owned by U.K., Spanish, Portuguese, and Greek companies. This claim was later discredited. Similar reliable sources reported the fraud to CSR that started an international call to end the illegal practices. The Kenyan government confirmed that this cruise ship recruitment scheme bilked more than $500,000 from at least 10,000 Kenyan job seekers under the guise of requiring a medical examination fee. Reports of similar activities occurred in India and Pakistan as well. In each case, fees were collected but the agency did not provide any jobs. "We have spent over a year keeping a careful eye on this company because they have succeeded in preying on poor people. Al-Najat's shady practices cast a negative image upon the entire maritime industry, one that is far from the truth," said Douglas B. Stevenson, Director of the Center for Seafarers' Rights. In order to be eligible to work on a cruise vessel, candidates must possess a merchant mariners document issued by the flag authority of the vessel on which the applicant will work. International standards also require some basic training in accordance with the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW-95).

Additionally, Article 2 of ILO Convention No. 9 For Establishing Facilities for Finding Employment for Seamen prohibits the charging of fees for finding employment for seafarers. The Center for Seafarers' Rights is a worldwide resource for legal research, education, advocacy and assistance on seafarers' rights issues. The Center provides free counseling and referrals to merchant seafarers and seafarers' welfare agencies worldwide. The Center also works to improve national and international laws and practices protecting seafarers and improving maritime safety. Before joining the Seamen's Church Institute as Director of the Center for Seafarers' Rights in 1990, Stevenson served 20 years as a U.S. Coast Guard Officer, retiring as a Commander. While in the Coast Guard, Stevenson served in a variety of legal and operational assignments, including command at sea and a diplomatic post at the United States Mission to the United Nations. He is a graduate of the United States Coast Guard Academy and the University of Miami School of Law.

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