The UK P&I Club’s Argentinian Correspondents have advised that the local Maritime Workers Union (SOMU) have issued a note stating that they will not allow the entrance of any vessel to the port of Ingeniero White (Bahia Blanca) that does not hold a valid ITF certificate on board.
The exclusion mainly affects FOC ships, but also some flagged in national flag states, as follows:
• Antigua and Barbuda
• Cayman Islands
• Equatorial Guinea
• Marshall Islands
• Netherland Antilles
• North Korea
• Sao Tome & Principe
• Sri Lanka
• St Vincent and The Grenadines
The Union has also demanded that a copy of the ITF certificate is sent by mail in advance.
The Club’s Correspondents have spoken to the local representatives of ITF in Argentina to obtain their input but they are not aware of this note issued by the Bahia Blanca section of the SOMU so this action appears to have been taken by the local unions of its own decision.
Due to the growing strength of Argentinian unions, this could become a complex issue and has already resulted in delay to a number of vessels.
The only way that SOMU could prevent entrance of a vessel at this port is through the non provision of tug boats. It is unknown at present whether the ITF will support this decision. It is possible that these measures could also extend to other ports.
Source: UK P&I Club