Commonwealth of Dominica

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IMO’s adoption of COVID-19 Related Resolution

Resolution: "a firm decision to do or not to do something"

Next week, the IMO Assembly will vote to adopt a resolution on “Comprehensive action to address seafarers’ challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

This draft Assembly resolution contains solutions that pertain to ensuring maritime safety, security and environmental protection by reducing the negative impact on seafarersʹ physical health, welfare and well-being.

Member States and relevant national authorities are urged to designate seafarers as ʺkey workersʺ to facilitate shore leave as well as safe and unhindered movement across borders. Relevant documentation carried by seafarers would be recognized as evidence of this status, which would entail the application of temporary measures, including (where possible under relevant law): waivers, exemptions or other relaxations from any visa or documentary requirements.

The resolution also urges Member States to consider the implementation of the Industry recommended framework of protocols for ensuring safe ship crew changes and travel during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic (MSC.1/Circ.1636/Rev.1, as may be revised).

In order to prioritize vaccination of seafarers, as far as practicable, the resolution urges Members States in their national COVID-19 vaccination programmes, noting the advice of the WHO SAGE Roadmap7 for prioritizing the use of COVID-19 vaccines. It also urges Member States to extend COVID-19 vaccines to seafarers of other nationalities, taking into account national vaccine supplies.

The resolution also urges Member States to consider exempting seafarers from any national policy requiring proof of COVID-19 vaccination as a condition for entry, taking into account that seafarers should be designated as ʺkey workersʺ and that they travel across borders frequently.

Finally, the resolution urges Member States to provide seafarers with immediate access to medical care and to facilitate medical evacuations of seafarers in need of urgent medical attention when the required medical care cannot be provided either on board or in the port of call.

The Commonwealth of Dominica Maritime Administration believes that the adoption of this resolution will truly help to address the crew change crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Our seafarers deserve to be protected and to be helped out of the struggles they have been forced to endure recently.

We urge you to assist us in bringing this resolution to the attention of all parties concerned, and to help us spread this message throughout the world.

The level of actions taken by governments following the adoption of this resolution by the IMO will show just how committed governments truly are in supporting seafarers.

To read through the Resolution, please read Part 6 (COMPREHENSIVE ACTION TO ADDRESS SEAFARERSʹ CHALLENGES DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC), starting on page 15, of the IMO’s 15 November 2021 meeting CONSIDERATION OF THE REPORTS AND RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE MARITIME SAFETY COMMITTEE.

Eric R Dawicki – International Propeller Club International Maritime Person of the Year 2021

Eric Roger Dawicki selected as the International Propeller Club’s 2021 International Maritime Person of the Year.

Northeast Maritime Institute’s President, Eric Roger Dawicki, was awarded the prestigious International Maritime Person of the Year award for 2021 during the International Propeller Club of the United States’ 95th Annual Convention, on 14 October. This prestigious award honors an individual for his or her contributions to the maritime industry at large.

The International Propeller Club of the United States was established in 1922 as a platform for maritime professionals to network and discuss issues of the industry. After nearly a century, more than 80 ports – or individual member clubs – have been established, including almost 30 internationally, making the International Propeller Club one of the most important maritime trade associations in the world.

Today, The International Propeller Club of the United States is a grassroots, non-profit organization that promotes the maritime industry through its ports and through partnerships with similar organizations. Its goal is to educate legislators and the public about the essential role that maritime commerce plays in the world.

Mr. Dawicki has served as the CEO and President of Northeast Maritime Institute (NMI), located in Fairhaven, Massachusetts, since 1995. NMI has provided training to professional mariners worldwide, both in-person and online, since 1995. Northeast Maritime Institute’s College of Maritime Science is the first and only private maritime college in the United States, fast-tracking its graduates into the maritime industry with great success.

Mr. Dawicki also serves as the President and CEO of the Commonwealth of Dominica Maritime Registry, which is an open international ship registry that provides comprehensive services for vessel owners, operators and seafarers globally.

Mr. Dawicki was a prominent maritime leader following the attacks of 9/11, serving a full term as a member of the United States Maritime Security Advisory Committee under both the Bush and Obama Administrations, and is now a Coast Guard Reserve Veteran and a Lifetime Trustee of The Coast Guard Foundation.

Mr. Dawicki has played a role in the international maritime industry since 1996, where he has participated in numerous U.S. delegations to the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and has served on multiple committee and subcommittee meetings. Mr. Dawicki has also served as a member of the Board of Governors and as Executive Governor of the IMO’s World Maritime University in Malmo, Sweden. Mr. Dawicki was also a Chairman of the World Maritime University’s (WMU) thirty-year sustainability plan.

To read the Maritime Executive’s article about the International Propeller Club’s 2021 International Award Winners: CLICK HERE.

To learn more about the history of the International Propeller Club of the United States: CLICK HERE.

Updates on the IMO’s 104th Maritime Safety Committee Meeting

IMO Resolution with actions to address to the crew change crisis. Raise seafarers above their current struggle and allow for timely and necessary relief from their services at sea.

Yesterday, an IMO draft Assembly resolution “Comprehensive action to address seafarers’ challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic” was discussed during the Maritime Safety Committee. This draft Assembly resolution contains solutions that pertain to ensuring maritime safety, security and environmental protection by reducing the negative impact on seafarersʹ physical health welfare and well-being.

Approximately 2 million seafarers operate commercial vessels around the world to facilitate global maritime trade and commerce. Mariners and Seafarers are facing the risk of extreme fatigue, physical and mental health crises – the number one cause of maritime casualties that include collisions, allisions and groundings. Restrictions and delays of crew changes and repatriation, including the measures implemented by countries, brought serious operational consequences, causing this humanitarian crisis at sea.

The Commonwealth of Dominica Maritime Administration took the initiative in a proposal that all IMO Member States agree to a five-part commitment to seafarers during the COVID-19 pandemic in order to facilitate crew changes and repatriation. During the 103rd session of the Maritime Safety Committee in May 2021, the Commonwealth of Dominica Maritime Administration presented a document in this regard.

This document encouraged IMO Member States and NGO’s to commit and implement actions that address the crew change crisis:

  • Designating seafarers as ʺkey workersʺ;
  • Recognizing international documentation as evidence of this status;
  • Ensuring safe ship crew changes and travel;
  • Creation of quarantine facilities; and
  • Provision of access to medical care, including access to vaccines

These points were taken forward as a collaborative effort and an Assembly resolution was drafted, and the IMO Secretariat submitted this draft Assembly resolution to MSC104, for submission to Assembly 32 with a view of adoption in December 2021.

Tangible action is of absolute necessity to address the crew change crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and is paramount to maritime safety, security and environmental protection. The implementation of these actions will raise seafarers above their current struggle and allow for timely and necessary relief from their service at sea.

In order to achieve a harmonized approach, Dominica reached out to all of the non-Governmental international Organizations that have been granted consultative status with IMO, asking for their support. OCIMF, IFSMA, IOGP, INTERTANKO, InterManager, IOI, ICMA, IBIA and IIMA took this opportunity to honor the people they represent, and to demonstrate their support for mariners and seafarersʹ health and welfare today and into the future.

In a joint statement, the co-sponsors of this supporting document took a collaborative effort to underline and highlight the need for the urgent objectives set out in the draft Assembly resolution.

The Commonwealth of Dominica Maritime Administration feels very positive about this resolution going forward. The actions for mariners and seafarers affirm that our industry respects and acknowledges their important role in global trade and commerce on the high seas.

#honorthemariner

Dominica Maritime Administration Attends the UNCTAD15 Conference

The delegation of the Dominica Maritime Administration is honored to attend the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development’s (UNCTAD’s) 15th conference – UNCTAD15, hosted online by Barbados from 3 to 7 October, 2021. We are proud to represent the Commonwealth of Dominica, a Small Island Developing State (SIDS) and are looking forward to participating in important conversations that will be started.

We believe that there must be equal opportunities for all involved in the maritime industry. Our values fit the theme of this year’s UNCTAD15 conference, which is, “From inequality and vulnerability to prosperity for all.” Discussions will be focused on how access to trade works for all can reduce inequality and vulnerability.

The Dominica Maritime Administration’s international maritime registry prides itself on providing sustainable, cost-effective, safe and secure compliance tools to ensure the safety of the global maritime shipping, yachting and seafaring community.

UNCTAD is a permanent intergovernmental body established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1964. As a part of the United Nations Secretariat, which deals with trade, investment, and development issues, UNCTAD’s purpose is to promote the interests of developing states in world trade.

During the conference’s Opening Plenary and Ceremony, United Nations Secretary-General Mr. António Guterres spoke about the need for global efforts to recover from the impacts of COVID-19. “We need a bold, sustainable and inclusive global recovery that benefits the many, rather than the few.” Guterres stated that if we come together on a global level, it is possible for all – not just some – to recover from the damage that COVID-19 has caused.

Guterres spoke about how COVID-19 has prevented trade from contributing to economic growth. He called upon the need for open and fair trade rules, so that all countries have a fair chance at competition and growth, no matter their level of development.

Guterres also called upon the need for modern infrastructure and trade flows, specifically in the shipping industry, “which transport 80% of global merchandise. Automation and digital solutions can reduce bottlenecks and help this vital industry decarbonize.”

Overall, Guterres’s remarks pointed out the global need for fair and equal trade opportunities through modern infrastructure and open and fair trade rules, to thus promote a global blue economy.

Small Island Developing States (SIDS) are those most impacted by global climate change. The world must come together and commit to the creation of a sustainable blue economy to ensure that SIDS have equal opportunities to participate in the global economy.

Some of the topics to be discussed at UNCTAD15 include, “Inequality: Is the COVID-19 crisis really a game-changer?,” “Reshaping global and regional value chains,” “Regional integration for a resilient, inclusive and sustainable future”, “Harnessing frontier technologies for shared prosperity” and more.

To watch Secretary-General of the United Nations, Mr. António Guterres’s speech at the UNCTAD15 Conference Opening, see here:

DMA Publishes Report on Investigation into M/T GULF SKY Disappearance

Commonwealth of Dominica Maritime Administration

Office of Maritime Affairs and Marine Personnel

OFFICIAL PRESS STATEMENT:

The Investigation into the matter of the alleged hijacking of the M/T GULF SKY (IMO No. 9390927) from the Khor Fakkan Anchorage, United Arab Emirates on 05 July 2020 resulted in a year-long investigation that sought to discover the facts and events surrounding the illicit removal of the M/T GULF SKY while under arrest.  The report, published by the Administration on 19 July 2021, reveals a cloud of conspiracy in which facts were very difficult to unearth and verify. 

While the Administration was able to make certain determinations and provide recommendations for future cases, it is unable to determine as to how the vessel disappeared from Khor Fakkan and who the perpetrators and co-conspirators were and believes that a greater multi-national criminal investigation  is required.  The Administration can confirm that the vessel was brought to Bandar Abbas, Iran and illegally reflagged under the Flag of Iran.  As stated in the report, the Administration is of the belief that the incident was facilitated by multiple relevant parties and involved a multinational scheme to bypass sanctions of the Iranian regime by the United States Treasury Department.  The Administration is not able to comment further as to the particulars of the case than what has already been provided in the Report.

Any questions can be directed to:

Technical Department

Tel: + 1 508 992 7170

E-mail: technical@dominica-registry.com        

– End –

The entire report has been released publicly and can be found here: LINK

DMRI CEO: “Seafarers must be designated as key workers”

The Dominica Martime Registry CEO Eric R. Dawicki was recently featured in Tradewinds, highlighting his efforts to get nations to do more to take care of seafarers. 

“There are considerable consequences to maritime trade, particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic, in cases where a seafarer has been extended well beyond the allowed 11 months to 17 and even 18 months,” he wrote. 

Core to the issue is a lack of designation of seafarers as essential or key personnel which has resulted in the inability to execute crew changes or repatriation of crew serving on vessels globally.

“Without broader commitment, the efforts of flag states to take care of the most important element of global maritime trade — the human element — are rendered moot…During Covid-19, when crew changes have been impacted by the lack of designation of seafarers as key or essential workers and/or other state policies preventing seafarers’ movement through their nations, overly extended seafarers are left with little recourse.”

“Every nation must designate mariners as key workers, and support others in any and all actions to facilitate crew changes and repatriation.”

Read the entire article HERE.

Joint Press Release Update to MT Gulf Sky Crew Case

DESPERATE MT GULF SKY CREW REMAIN NEGLECTED WITHOUT PAY & ACCESS TO CDCs

Press Release.

“Sir, it is very painful experience for me which [has been] never seen before in my life.”

‘The consequences of not being able to return to sea to work and earn a wage are profound on both the crew, and their families, especially during the employment difficulties of the COVID-19 pandemic.’
Human Rights at Sea


London, UK / Fairhaven, MA. USA. 14 weeks after their repatriation from Tehran in mid-July following the 5th – 14th July hijack of their vessel while anchored off Port Khor Fakkan Anch, UAE, the 28 Indian seafarers of the MT Gulf Sky remain professionally and financially neglected, while answers do not yet appear to be coming from the Indian Director General of Shipping regarding their internal findings.

The crew’s wages remain unpaid since March 2020 totalling in excess of USD$197,000, while the crew’s Continuous Discharge Certificates (CDCs) are still retained by UAE authorities, pending an ongoing criminal investigation by government prosecutors, as notified to Human Rights at Sea.

As previously reported by Human Rights at Sea and the Commonwealth of Dominica Maritime Administration, the complex commercial and geo-political case of the MT Gulf Sky continues to be under investigation at State level as to the background to and circumstances of the hijack of the vessel from UAE waters to offshore Hormuz Island, Iran, in the space of just 24 hours.

Engagement & Actions
Human Rights at Sea and the flag Administration have been jointly engaged with the correspondents for the New Zealand based Maritime Mutual Insurance Association (MMIA) Ltd, though to date, there has been no satisfactory response in terms of finalising payment of outstanding crew wages. The Commonwealth of Dominica Maritime Administration has submitted a final demand letter to MMIA, and is considering a criminal complaint.

MMIA have responded and highlighted that the P&I Club is aware that the shipowners, Taif Mining Oman, had been placed under US Office of Foreign Assets (OFAC) sanctions after the vessel was entered with the Club.

Crew employment contracts were originally entered into with the India-based company, Seven Seas Navigation India (Pvt) Ltd, though it remains unclear why the company have themselves not settled outstanding payments to the crew.

Further, the P&I Club has been advised that the vessel managers United Islands Maritime Ventures Private Ltd, based in India, had been involved in paying wages to the crew, though this also appears now to have ceased.

Fines in excess of $5,000,000 USD have now been levied against the owners of the vessel and United Islands Maritime Ventures Private, Ltd., respectively, by the flag administration.

Crew statements
The crew continue to submit their case to all parties who will hear them, including the Director General Shipping India, maritime unions, welfare and civil-society organisations.

To date, their collective voice has been effectively ignored.

DARSHNIK SINGH from Rudrapur, Uttarakhand stated to the Human Rights at Sea: “I and my family are facing financial problem as I have not received my wages from company Seven Seas Navigation due to which I am not able to fulfil my family needs.”

Another crew member, 3rd Engineer TANDEL SUJEETKUMAR stated: “Sir it is very painful experience for me which [has been] never seen before in my life.”

“We were arrested by Iranian hijacker from 5 July to 14 July those 10 days experience is very horrible for us because they kept us in one mesh room, we 28 people live together in that small room. That is fine ok we are released anyhow, God bless. But now we are facing very worst situation because our documents are seized by UAE government we didn’t get salary and now without documents we can’t join ship now we are in very horrible situation all authorities doesn’t help us…”

Deck cadet, BASKAR RAJA GOPAL said: “My CDC still with UAE authorities. Sir without my CDC I can’t able to join another vessel, my training period also incomplete and my family also suffering financially during this COVID-19, my family depends on me only Sir.”

Consequences
The consequences of not being able to return to sea to work and earn a wage are profound on both the crew, and their families, especially during the employment difficulties of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lack of income drains meagre personal savings resulting in crew borrowing to survive and increasing levels of debt which, if left unchecked, may well lead to indentured servitude and exploitation. This is plainly wrong and unacceptable.

Comments
Human Rights at Sea and the flag State administration remain co-joined and resolute in their efforts, alongside other stakeholders, to secure payment of the significant outstanding wages and to ensure the crew CDC’s are returned without delay.

Eric R. Dawicki, President and CEO stated, ”The Commonwealth of Dominica Maritime Administration’s Office of Maritime Affairs and Marine Personnel has been working diligently with both the United Arab Emirates Directorate of Maritime Transport Sector and The Federal Transport Authority and the Directorate General of Shipping in India to conclude the facts as we know them. Once the Directorate General of Shipping in India submits its finding to the Tri-lateral Investigation Team Headed up by the Commonwealth of Dominica, we shall issue a statement of facts and a plan for legal actions against the perpetrators of one of the most brazen crimes on the high seas in the 21st Century. One way or another – justice shall be served!”

David Hammond, CEO, Human Rights at Sea said, “It is undeniably frustrating to continually fail to be able to provide the crew with any credible news relating to when their outstanding wages will be paid, and when their CDCs will be returned. These fundamental issues affecting livelihoods can no longer be kicked down the road. Seafarers and their families are suffering unnecessarily.”

ENDS.


Contact

David Hammond Esq. CEO
david.hammond@humanrightsatsea.org
Tel: +44 7387 778977

Eric R. Dawicki President & CEO
edawicki@dominica-registry.com
Tel: +1-508-992-7170
Fax:+1-508-992-7120
Emergency 24-Hour Contact: +1-508-287-4536

 

 

Updated COVID-19 Circulars

The Commonwealth of Dominica Maritime Administration has recently updated its guidelines, information, and Marine Safety Circulars (MSC) relating to the Coronavirus pandemic.

The Administration urges all owners, operators, masters and officers of merchant ships, and recognized organizations to review the Administration’s COVID-19 webpage HERE.

For any clarifications on COVID-19 guidelines, please contact the Administration.