Nautilus general secretary Mark Dickinson was one of the speakers at a conference to discuss welfare services for the growing number of seafarers on ships visiting Chinese ports.
The meeting was presented with the preliminary findings of research into the issues, which is being conducted by Southampton Solent University’s China Centre (Maritime) with a grant from the ITF Seafarers Trust and support from Nautilus and the International Seafarers Welfare Assistance Network.
Presenting the results, project leader Professor Minghua Zhao said there has been a dramatic reduction in port-based welfare facilities for seafarers in China over the past 20 to 30 years, at a time when the number of ships visits has increased significantly.
‘Where can seafarers turn for help when they visit Chinese ports?’ she asked. 'New facilities are urgently needed in the new, large mega-ports which are located far from city centres.'
The study recommends measures to revitalise welfare services with more support from the government, industry, trade unions and other sources – such as the introduction of a levy for visiting vessels.
The study included feedback from seafarers on their expectations and experiences when visiting Chinese ports and it recommends measures to revitalise welfare services with more support from the government, industry, trade unions and other sources – such as the introduction of a levy for visiting vessels.
Mr Dickinson told the meeting the research had shown the importance of collaboration in providing good services and support for seafarers. The concept of reciprocal support is important, he pointed out, and as China has ratified the Maritime Labour Convention it has obligations for the care and protection of visiting crew members.